Smithers Apex forecasts global ferrous slag market to reach $35 billion by 2027

Growth of the ferrous slag market is directly related to trends in the steel market. The fundamental driver for the market for ferrous slag is the search to extend the list of payable uses for an industry by-product.

The global ferrous slag market is forecast to grow by under 1% in volume over the next 5–10 years, reaching nearly 564 million tonnes by 2027 according to Smithers Apex latest Market report ‘The Future of Ferrous Slag: Market Forecasts to 2027’. Its value growth is forecast to be significantly higher, with an average growth of up to 6% over the next 5–10 years, reaching nearly $35 billion by 2027.

The spread of regulations and charges aimed at protecting the environment provides an added incentive; but there has always been a motive to seek to transform what is potentially a cost source (because it has to be stored securely before being disposed of at a cost) into a revenue-earning by-product in all industries.

Sub-markets have developed in the past as a result of the combined search for avoidance of unwanted landfill disposal and opportunities to create useful revenue. In most systems of environmental controls the status of by-product materials is recognised as different from the status of waste materials, and all industries seek to maximise the list of incidental process products judged to be co-products and by-products. These questions are examined in more detail in a separate section on regulatory systems; they have been given special attention in the EC’s Waste Framework Directive. At this point it need be noted only that the steel industry has succeeded in having ferrous slags classified as by-products, not waste materials. The steel industry’s recovery rate of by-products has increased significantly over the past 20 years, due to innovative technology developments and synergies with other industries.

The largest application for ferrous slag is cement manufacture. Ground slag cement by end use   (GGBS) and Portland clinker replacement (GBS) are forecast to use over 49% of total global ferrous slag production volume in 2017. The second largest application is road aggregates, forecast to use up to nearly one-third; followed by internal recycling using up for nearly 10% of global ferrous slag production in 2017. The value share of cement manufacture is forecast to use up for over 86% of total global ferrous slag production value in 2017, due to its high value/tonne.

Value share of cement manufacture is forecast to continue to increase to over 91% of total ferrous slag production market value by 2027, as GGBS and GBS prices are expected continue to rise in the next 5–10 years, as demand exceeds supply.

Doug Haynes, co-author of the report and ferrous slag industry consultant

‘The Future of Ferrous Slag: Market Forecasts to 2027’ market report provides expert analysis of market development factors and broad economic influences on the ferrous slag industry to identify key drivers of growth including market development factors and broad economic influences as wells the impact of regulatory developments favouring ferrous slag use.

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Notes for Editors            

‘The Future of Ferrous Slag Market Forecasts to 2027’ is available for £4,500.

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