Global demand for industrial silica sand is forecast to advance 5.5% per year to 291 million metric tons in 2018, with a value of $12.5 billion. Accelerations in construction spending and manufacturing output worldwide are expected to drive growth in important silica sand-consuming industries, including the glass, foundry and building products sectors. Particularly rapid gains are projected for the hydraulic fracturing market as horizontal drilling for shale oil and gas resources expands, largely in North America. Nevertheless, faster gains in the overall market will be constrained by ongoing efforts to incorporate higher volumes of recycled glass cullet in the manufacture of glass containers. These and other trends are presented in “World Industrial Silica Sand,” a recent study from The Freedonia Group, Inc.
The Asia-Pacific region will remain the largest regional consumer of industrial sand through 2018, supported by the dominant Chinese market. “China’s massive glass industry, the largest worldwide, will continue to bolster industrial sand consumption for the production of windows, electronic display screens, photovoltaic panels, and other flat glass products,” said Carolyn Zulandt, analyst. The country’s container glass industry will drive further silica sand sales, supported by rising production of glass bottles, particularly in the alcoholic beverage sector.
In India, foundry activity will advance at a healthy pace, spurring the production of sand molds to manufacture metal castings. Indonesia will also register strong growth in silica sand sales through 2018, supported by rapid advances in the output of glass products and metal castings, combined with increased hydraulic fracturing activity.
Demand for silica sand in North America is forecast to rise at a faster annual pace than any other regional market. The U.S. and Canada will lead regional growth, driven by expansion in the countries’ respective hydraulic fracturing segments. Strength in U.S. oilfield activity will boost demand for sand proppants, as will increases in the number of fracturing stages per well. Consumption of silica sand in Western Europe is projected to see more modest annual gains through 2018, although such growth will mark a rebound from the declines registered during 2008-2013. Recoveries in building construction and manufacturing activity, including a turnaround in flat glass output, will stimulate renewed demand for industrial sand in the region.