The impact of COVID-19 pandemic can be felt across the chemical industry. The growing inability in the production and manufacturing processes, in the light of the self-quarantined workforce has caused a major disruption in the supply chain across the sector. Restrictions encouraged by this pandemic are obstructing the production of essentials such as life-saving drugs.
The nature of operation in chemical plants that cannot be easily stopped and started, makes the operational restrictions in these plants a serious concern for the industry leaders. Restricted and delayed shipments from China have created a price hike in the raw materials, affecting the core of the chemicals industry.
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The slacking demand from different impacted industries such as automotive is negatively influencing the growth of the chemical industry. In light of the current crisis, the market leaders are focused to become self-reliant which is expected to benefit the economic growth of different economies in the longer term. Companies are triggering events to restructure and recover from the losses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Diatomite is also known as diatomaceous earth. Diatomite is the naturally occurring fossilized remains of diatoms. Diatomite is a sedimentary deposit which entirely consists of silica. Countries such as China, U.S., Denmark, Japan, Mexico and CIS were the major producers of diatomite in past few years. The properties such as high surface area, low density, abrasiveness, high porosity, inertness, insulating properties, high silica content, absorptive capacity and brightness makes diatomite a valuable material in the market. The mining and extraction process of diatomite is complicated. Diatomite mining and processing requires heavy earthmoving equipments and huge processing facilities. To get the desired grade of diatomite is highly energy intensive process. Diatomite can absorb liquid three times the weight of its own.
The market for diatomite was driven by vanity of end-user industries such as water treatment, crop protection chemicals and absorbent among others. Huge demand for diatomite from filtration mediums has been the major factor for the growth of diatomite in past few years. In industrial applications, diatomite is used for transportation of nitroglycerin. In filtration, diatomite is used in filtering medium in swimming pools. In chemistry, diatomite is used as filtration aid for the filtration of fine particles in the solutions. In abrasive industry, diatomite is used as a mild abrasive in toothpaste, facial scrubs and metal polishes. In crop protection chemicals, diatomite is used in fungicides, insecticides and rodenticide among others. Diatomite is used as absorbent in various applications such as excess oil spills, ethylene gas and other toxic liquid spills. Diatomite is also used in classical thermal cookers due to its excellent thermal properties. In medical & healthcare applications, diatomite is used in DNA purification, absorbent and filtration of liquids. Moreover, diatomite is also used in agricultural applications such as hydroponics, nutrient marker in livestock and other specialty applications. However, health regulations associated with diatomite are anticipated to slower the growth of the market in next few years.
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In terms of demand, North America was the leading region in diatomite market in 2013. Increasing demand from end-users such as water treatment, industrial applications, abrasive, medical & healthcare, absorbents and crop protection chemicals has been driving the market for diatomite in this region in past few years. The U.S. had the highest demand for diatomite in this region due to huge demand from crop protection chemicals, water treatment and abrasive industry. Other countries such as Canada and Mexico are likely to exhibit higher demand for diatomite in next few years to come. North America was followed by Asia Pacific region. Asia Pacific is anticipated to be the fastest growing markets for diatomite due to increasing demand from crop protection chemicals, industrial applications and medical & healthcare industry in this region. China had the highest demand for diatomite in Asia Pacific region.
However, other Asian countries such as India, Korea, Japan and Australia are likely to provide better opportunity for diatomite market in next few years. Europe had the third-largest demand for diatomite. Countries such as Spain, Germany, and the UK had the highest demand for diatomite due to huge demand from crop protection, water treatment and absorbent applications. Rest of the World market is anticipated to show positive outlook for the diatomite market in near future. Middle East is anticipated to be the fastest growing market in this region.
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Some of the key manufacturers in the diatomite market are