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Global Metals & Minerals Industry Analysis


The global metals and mining industry (as part of the wider chemicals and materials sector) was worth almost $2,320 billion in 2010, according to MarketLine. It is expected to grow rapidly, exceeding a 19% annual rate in the five-year period ending 2015. By the close of 2015, the global metals and mining industry should be worth almost $5,580 billion. More than half of the world's metal output is used by the construction and automotive industries, which both have a knock-on effect on the metals market. Other sectors relying on the metal industry include industrial machinery, electrical equipment and energy.


The industry involves the extraction and processing of metals and minerals, and encompasses markets for aluminum, base metals, iron and steel as well as precious metals and minerals, including platinum, silver, gold, diamond, uranium and other minerals.


Key Metal and Mineral Segments


Global Gold Demand *In Tonnes


Iron and steel comprise the largest segment of the metals and minerals industry. The global steel market showed close to 40% growth in 2010, according to MarketLine. It is expected to see a jump of more than 140% in just five years. By 2015 the market’s volume will exceed 1,567,000 thousand metric tons, a near 16% rise in the five-year period. Market share is highly concentrated in Asia-Pacific, representing almost 65% of the overall global steel market. The number-one company on the market is Arcelor Mittal, holding close to 7% market volume.


The global rare earth metals market is being driven by rising demand, which is expected to grow at a yearly rate of more than 7% to 2015, when it will hit 180,000 metric tons, according to Freedonia. Overall earth metals revenue reached $3 billion in 2010, and is expected to reach more than $9 billion in 2015. Market growth will be fuelled largely by demand for electronic products, battery alloys, permanent magnets and the automotive industry.


The stainless steel sector represents over 50% of the global nickel market. Industrial demand for nickel will continue to drive demand, with nickel consumption expected to grow at a rate of 5% annually from 2011 to 2014, according to research from RNCOS.


The global copper industry was worth over $90 billion in 2010, according to MarketLine. Copper is used not only in the construction industry but also for global connectivity as it is used for cables and wires, making it indispensable for delivering power, facilitating communication and transporting drinking water. The global copper market is expected to grow at a yearly rate of over 9.5% between 2010 and 2015, making the overall market worth almost $143 billion in 2015.


There is currently around 165,000 metric tons of gold above ground. About 60% of this precious metal is used to make jewelry. The highest demand for gold comes from the Middle East, India and Asia, which together consumed 70% of the gold jewelry produced in 2009. Gold is also produced for central bank reserves, investment and technology. 


The US is a key player on the global aluminum market, producing more than $40 billion worth of aluminum according to Taiyou Research. There are 300 plants in operation throughout 35 US states, producing more than 25 billion pounds of metal annually. Aluminum has many uses such as packaging and building, and it is also widely used in the medical and transport industries.


  Top 5 Importers of Aluminium Structures for Construction *In US$ Mn - 2010



Market Outlook


Consolidation continues to put metal and mineral industry companies in a strong position regarding pricing practices, and allows them to benefit from savings on production costs through mass scale activity. The industry is expanding in developing countries, which means savings on operation and labor costs. As related industries undergo varying degrees of recovery after the economic downturn, the metal and minerals industry will also rebound and continue to grow.



Leading Industry Associations




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