Zirconium Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

The market is segmented by Occurrence Type (Zircon, Zirconia, and Other Occurrence Types), Application/Product Type (Zircon Flour/Sand, Zircon Opacifier, Refractories, Zircon Chemicals, and Zircon Metal), and Geography

Market Snapshot

Study Period:

2016 - 2026

Base Year:



5 %

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Market Overview

The zirconium market is expected to witness a healthy growth, at an estimated CAGR of over 5% in terms of volume, over the forecast period. The major factors driving the growth of the market studied are the consistent growth in foundries and refractories, growth of nuclear power stations in Asia-Pacific, and the accelerating usage in surface coatings.

  • Reducing dependence on zircon is expected to hinder the growth of the market studied.
  • Zircon segment accounted for the largest share of about 70% of the total volume of the market studied.
  • China also dominated the market studied, with about 50% of the total revenue, and it is expected to witness the fastest CAGR, over the forecast period.

Scope of the Report

The scope of the zirconium market report includes:

Occurrence Type
Other Occurrence Types (Including Zirconium Metal)
Application/Product Type
Zircon Flour/Sand
Zircon Opacifier
Refractories (Zirconia)
Zircon Chemicals
Zircon Oxychloride (ZrOCl2)
Zircon Sulfate (Zr(SO4)2)
Other Zircon Chemicals
Zircon Metal
South Africa
Rest of the World
United States
European Union
Rest of the World

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Key Market Trends

Increasing Demand from Zircon Flour/Sand

  • Zircon is widely used in ceramics and foundry, mostly in the form of sand and flour (milled sand), due to its various properties, such as the ability to bind with all organic and inorganic sand binders, low acidity, low thermal expansion coefficient and high spatial stability at increased temperatures, chemical stability at high temperatures, and good recyclability,
  • In ceramics, zircon sand is used for its highly valuable properties, such as a high refractive index for opacification and inducing white color. Its ancillary benefits, including its ability to impart greater mechanical strength, toughness, and durability to ceramic bodies and glass matrices, are established attributes and valued by specific segments in the ceramic industry, thereby catering to the markets with a preference for these attributes.
  • Zircon is mostly used in the form of flour, to introduce zirconium to frit compositions, or as micronized zircon to produce glazes, engobes, and ceramic body compositions. Zircon sand is employed to improve the abrasion resistance of glazed surfaces, particularly for floor tiles.
  • The adoption of modern tile manufacturing technologies (mainly the double charging process) for porcelain tiles, has had the most significant impact on the reduction of zircon use in ceramics, by constituting approximately 90% of the assessed decline in zircon use in Chinese ceramics. The European and Chinese segments are expected to dominate the demand growth, with China leading the way till 2020.
  • In foundry applications, it is used widely as a molding base material for sand casting, investment casting, and Cosworth casting (aluminum). It is also used as mold coatings in die casting and in refractory paints and washes, as it reduces the wettability of other foundry sands.
  • Asia-Pacific has recorded the highest demand from the ceramics and foundry industry, followed by North America and Europe. Most of the demand is expected from China and India, thus enhancing the demand for zircon flour and sand.
  • However, substitutes of zircon sand, such as silica sand, olivine sand, and chromite sand, are likely to hinder the market growth rate, as zircon sand is sold at a higher price than the substitutes.

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China to Dominate the Market

  • In Asia-Pacific, China is the largest economy, in terms of GDP. The economic growth in the country remains high, owing to the increasing interest of investors to invest in China.
  • China is one of the fastest-growing economies, globally, and almost all the end-user industries have been growing, owing to the rising population, living standards, and per capita income. However, owing to the international trade turbulences and unfavorable geopolitical affairs, the growth rate is expected to slow down during the initial years of the forecast period.              
  • China is gaining popularity as the fastest-growing consumer of nuclear energy in the present scenario. The increasing focus on the development of nuclear power resources is expected to increase the demand for zirconium.
  • In addition, China has been a major consumer and exporter of ceramics, globally. According to the China Building Ceramics and Sanitaryware Association, there were more than 1,450 ceramic tile manufacturers in the country, operating more than 3,600 production lines.
  • China is the largest consumer and producer of ceramic tiles, accounting for more than 50% of the total global consumption. Three largest exporter countries of ceramic tiles include China, Spain, and Italy.
  • The iron and steel industry consumes the largest portion of refractories, globally, and in China as well. Industrial restructuring and the decreased consumption rate of refractories for per metric ton of steel impacted the demand for refractories in China between 2013 and 2015. However, the steady growth in the production of iron and steel in the country has been driving the growth of the refractories market in recent times.
  • The growth in industries, such as foundry, refractories, and ceramics, is expected to drive the market studied.

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Competitive Landscape

The global zirconium market is consolidated, with the top five companies accounting for around 70% of the global consumption. A majority of the consumption of zirconium is based in the Asia-Pacific and European region. Major players in the market include Iluka Resources Limited, Rio Tinto, Tronox Holdings PLC, and Eramet, among others.

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Table Of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Drivers

      1. 4.1.1 Consistent Growth in Foundries and Refractories

      2. 4.1.2 Growth of Nuclear Power Stations in Asia-Pacific

      3. 4.1.3 Increasing Usage in Surface Coatings

    2. 4.2 Restraints

      1. 4.2.1 Reducing Dependence on Zircon

    3. 4.3 Industry Value Chain Analysis

    4. 4.4 Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.4.1 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      2. 4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Consumers

      3. 4.4.3 Threat of New Entrants

      4. 4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products and Services

      5. 4.4.5 Degree of Competition

    5. 4.5 Import and Export

      1. 4.5.1 Trade Regulatory Policy Analysis

      2. 4.5.2 Analysis of Major Exporting and Importing Countries

      3. 4.5.3 Price Trends


    1. 5.1 Occurrence Type

      1. 5.1.1 Zircon

      2. 5.1.2 Zirconia

      3. 5.1.3 Other Occurrence Types (Including Zirconium Metal)

    2. 5.2 Application/Product Type

      1. 5.2.1 Zircon Flour/Sand

      2. 5.2.2 Zircon Opacifier

      3. 5.2.3 Refractories (Zirconia)

      4. 5.2.4 Zircon Chemicals

        1. Zircon Oxychloride (ZrOCl2)

        2. Zircon Sulfate (Zr(SO4)2)

        3. Other Zircon Chemicals

      5. 5.2.5 Zircon Metal

    3. 5.3 Geography

      1. 5.3.1 Production

        1. Australia

        2. Brazil

        3. China

        4. Indonesia

        5. South Africa

        6. Ukraine

        7. Rest of the World

      2. 5.3.2 Consumption

        1. China

        2. United States

        3. Japan

        4. European Union

        5. India

        6. Russia

        7. Rest of the World


    1. 6.1 Mergers and Acquisitions, Joint Ventures, Collaborations, and Agreements

    2. 6.2 Market Share Analysis**

    3. 6.3 Strategies Adopted by Leading Players

    4. 6.4 Company Profiles

      1. 6.4.1 Alkane Resources Limited

      2. 6.4.2 Base Resources Limited

      3. 6.4.3 Binh Dinh Minerals Company

      4. 6.4.4 Doral Mineral Sands Pty Ltd

      5. 6.4.5 Eramet

      6. 6.4.6 Iluka Resources Limited

      7. 6.4.7 INB

      8. 6.4.8 Kenmare Resources PLC

      9. 6.4.9 Lanka Mineral Sands Limited

      10. 6.4.10 MZI Resources Ltd

      11. 6.4.11 Rio Tinto

      12. 6.4.12 Tronox Holdings PLC

  7. *List Not Exhaustive

    1. 7.1 Stringent Emission Standards in the Automotive Industry

    2. 7.2 Increasing Usage in the Healthcare Sector, Especially Orthopedic Implants

** Subject to Availability

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