Zircon sand outlook for 2023

The global demand for zircon sand has been estimated at 1.2 million tonnes for both 2021 and 2022. This is a 20% increase over 2019 and 2020. The demand has been driven by India, China and Europe and is expected to remain during 2023.

With strong demand, as well as high freight rates, zircon started 2022 at USD 2000/mt and finished the year at USD 2300/mt CIF China port for Iluka Resources sand.

The strong demand is expected to stay for 2023 and so pricing will remain firm, with the potential to increase further by an estimated 10% during the year.

The supply growth needed to meet demand is limited even with Richards Bay Minerals returning back to normal production and a number of new projects coming on stream. A number of aging mines are transitioning to lower grade ore bodies and therefore reducing output.

Current demand remains firm in China, particularly in the ceramics industry as they move out of covid restrictions and the construction industry picks up.

It is expected supply will remain quite tight during 2023 and further mine development is needed to meet future demand.

Zircon sand is the starting raw material for the majority of zirconium based products, including zirconium hydroxide, zirconium basic carbonate and zirconium oxide

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Date : 01-02-2023

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