World slag demand on the rise as supplies declines

Driven by low-carbon and other environmental policies, demand for ferrous slag in cement and aggregates industries worldwide stands to outstrip supply, according to a new study released by IntertechPira, Leatherhead, UK. No longer mere disposable iron and steel manufacturing by-products, the data suggests, ferrous slag, i.e., blast furnace and various types of steel slag, will become increasingly marketable as consumption by regulatory- and energy-savvy primary users escalates, and supply is impacted by evolving steel technology, plus improved quality-control procedures. “The Future of Ferrous Slag–Market Forecasts to 2020” provides analysis of major trends and drivers impacting the ferrous slag market, breaking it down by slag type and key user sector to offer volume and value quantitative forecasts to 2020.

The total supply of blast furnace slag is 13% of world cement production, according to IntertechPira. That shortfall is exacerbated by environmental legislation and carbon market economics possibly leading to more blast furnace closures. Nonetheless, despite a dip in 2009 levels, total slag availability is expected to increase in China, Brazil, Russia, and India through 2014, with China alone producing more than half of all output. Europe, North America, and Japan are also forecast to witness a gradual increase in slag availability over the same period.

Given the concomitant increase in product value, the ferrous slag market is projected to reach nearly $28 billion by 2020. GGBS has commanded prices in the range of $50–$80/metric ton in 2009, the study indicates, and that figure is expected to increase with an emissions premium.

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