Market analysis of metal extractants and basic risk characteristics of the industry
1. Market overview and prospects of metal extractants
The market size of extractants directly depends on the global demand for various metals and the proportion of hydrometallurgical equipment processes. In recent years, the demand for non-ferrous metals has been on the rise as a whole. In theory, all metals can be made using hydrometallurgical processes. At present, copper and rare earths are the most widely used varieties of hydrometallurgy. It is precisely because of the great success of the hydrometallurgical process in recent years that the field of hydrometallurgical research and development has been gradually expanded, gradually extending to zinc, aluminum, manganese, nickel and other non-ferrous metals, and the application market for extractants is very broad. At present, there are a small amount of hydrometallurgical process equipment for zinc and nickel, and considerable technical reserves for manganese and aluminum, but there is no hydrometallurgical process application at present.
The global extractant production is mainly concentrated in the hands of two well-known large companies abroad. After decades of extractant production and sales, we have accumulated a lot of experience in extractant production and application, occupying more than 90% of the extractant market. market share. The advantages of internationally renowned companies are that the quality of the extractant is relatively stable, the performance is relatively superior, and the technical services are relatively mature; the disadvantage is that the production cost is high, the variety is limited and cannot meet the individual needs of hydrometallurgy, and the professional and technical personnel are aging and out of touch. The synthesis and application of domestic extractants have achieved certain results with the efforts of Academician Xu Guangxian of Peking University and Academician Yuan Chengye of Chinese Academy of Sciences, but there is still a considerable gap between the level of foreign countries.
Extractants are divided into hydroxyoximes, amines and phosphorus. Hydroxime extractants are mainly used for the extraction of copper, zinc, cobalt, nickel and other metals; amine extractants are mainly used for the extraction process of rare and precious metals such as uranium, gold and silver; phosphorus extractants have a large market scale and are widely used Extraction process of nickel, cobalt, rare earth, zinc and other metals. Since the metal extractant is a niche chemical market, it has always been monopolized by large foreign companies, and there is no publicly available data on production and sales. However, it can be expected that with the increasing maturity of hydrometallurgical processes, hydrometallurgy has the characteristics of low cost, safety and environmental protection, small investment, suitable for low-grade mines and polymetallic associated mines, and more and more new The start-up metal smelting enterprises choose hydrometallurgical technology, and the extractant market is getting bigger and bigger. Taking copper extractant as an example, the current global production of wet copper smelting is 6 million tons per year. With more and more wet copper smelting processes, the copper extractant is increasing at a rate of 25-30% every year, and the market prospect is very broad. .
2. Basic risk characteristics of the industry
(1) Periodic fluctuations of non-ferrous metals
The cyclical characteristics of the non-ferrous metals industry are relatively obvious. The domestic and foreign market prices of base metals are not only affected by the relationship between supply and demand, but also closely related to the operating cycles of the global and Chinese economies. To a certain extent, fluctuations in the non-ferrous metal industry have become a barometer of changes in the macroeconomic cycle. If the effective demand for non-ferrous metals is insufficient, it may cause difficulties in the sales of extractant product companies.
(2) Potential safety hazards
During the production process of the extractant, hazardous chemicals such as acid, benzene, and formaldehyde will be generated. The production, storage, and transportation process have high safety requirements, and there are certain hidden risks.
(3) Environmental incident risk
Certain waste water, waste gas, waste residue and other pollutants will be produced in the production process of extractant, and leakage incidents occur from time to time in hydrometallurgical enterprises. If control is not effective or major natural disasters occur during the production process, major environmental pollution incidents may occur.
(4) Market competition risk
The extractant market has long been monopolized by foreign chemical giants, and a high degree of monopoly may hinder technological progress and retard the development of hydrometallurgical processes. Small and medium-sized enterprises have a large gap with international giants in terms of asset scale, capital strength, market share, and technical reserves, and are often at a disadvantage in market competition.