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 IntertechPira study. No longer mere disposable iron and steel manufacturing byproducts, data suggests, ferrous slag, ie, 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 [>steel slag; ≤blast furnace slag], plus improved quality-control procedures.
“The Future of Ferrous Slag – Market Forecasts to 2020” study analyses major trends and drivers impacting the ferrous slag market, breaking it down by material type and key user sector to offer volume and value quantitative forecasts to 2020. The total supply of blast furnace slag is 13 per cent 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, plus Brazil, Russia, and India, over the next five years, with China accounting for more than half of all output. North America, Europe 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 US$28bn by 2020. GGBS has commanded prices in the range of US$50–$80/t in 2009, the study indicates, and that figure is expected to increase with regulations curtailing carbon dioxide emissions.