High Purity Quartz Market: Introduction
The global high purity quartz market was valued at ~US$ 800 Mn in 2019 and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of ~6% during the forecast period. The global high purity quartz market is driven by increase in demand for high purity quartz in the global semiconductor industry. Asia Pacific accounts for a major share of the global high purity quartz market, led by high demand for high purity quartz among manufacturers of solar products.
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Key Drivers of High Purity Quartz Market
High purity quartz is a special feedstock, which is used in industries that entail high-tech applications (for instance, the solar industry). The high purity quartz sand is a highly cost-effective solution to meet the consistently increasing requirements in terms of quality standards in the solar industry. The solar industry has gained prominence, as solar is a key source of renewable energy. Several countries across the globe are undertaking solar projects in order to save non-renewable sources of energy. Solar power involves the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity by using photovoltaic (PV) cells. The high purity quartz sand is the raw material used to produce crucibles, which are employed in the solar cell industry. High purity quartz is employed in several ways in the manufacture of c-Si cells and modules, including crucibles, quartz glass for tubes, rods, and widows, and silicon metal. Silicon is the base material for all c-Si PV modules. Large, rectangular crucibles are used in the manufacture of multi-crystalline silicon for usage in solar PV cells. Production of monocrystalline silicon requires rounded crucibles made of purer, solar-grade quartz. Various countries across the globe are increasingly focusing on clean energy alternatives. The commitment to clean energy has been evidenced in a number of policy changes globally, as well as the Paris Agreement. Thus, expansion of the solar industry is projected to boost the high purity quartz market during the forecast period.
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Expansion of Telecommunication and Optical Fibers Industries to Offer Lucrative Opportunities to High Purity Quartz Market
Rise in need for network bandwidth and growth in Internet penetration are driving the demand for fiber optics. Fiber optics allow transmission over longer distances with less loss. They are also immune to electromagnetic interferences. An optical fiber consists of a transparent core surrounded by a transparent cladding material made from high purity quartz. High purity quartz-based cladding material is essential to maintain the efficacy of the transmission line. Apart from telecommunication and data transfer, optical fibers are also increasingly utilized in medical and scientific research. This is further boosting the demand for high purity quartz. Rapid expansion of the broadband market and significant investments in 3G/4G/5G infrastructure are propelling the demand for high purity quartz, particularly among major optical fiber manufacturers. Most of these manufacturers are based in the U.S. and China.
Limited Availability of Mines and Lack of Technical Knowledge about Production to Hamper High Purity Quartz Market
Limited availability of quartz mines is a prominent factor restraining the high purity quartz market. Currently, just two notable mines (Spruce Pine, North Carolina, the U.S.; and Kyshtym, Russia) account for more than 95% share of the global high purity quartz market in terms of production. Large numbers of mines in Australia, Canada, Mauritania, Russia, and Norway have reported high purity quartz possibilities; however, none of these is capable of producing a product that meets the IOTA standard on an economical and regular basis. Consequently, prominent quartz companies are focusing on grades capable of producing poly-silica for the manufacture of solar PV cells. These companies are unable to enter the high purity quartz market.
High purity quartz is considered a specialized market, with prominent suppliers reluctant to disclose their production as well as processing techniques due to the fear of losing their margins to upcoming players. This is significantly hampering the entry of a large number of players, even those with fairly high natural purity (99.9% +). However, a few silica startups are anticipated to introduce efficient production techniques to cater to the ever-rising demand for high purity quartz.
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Asia Pacific Dominates High Purity Quartz Market
Based on region, the global high purity quartz market has been divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East Africa. In terms of volume and value, Asia Pacific dominated the global high purity quartz market in 2019. Increase in the number of solar and fabrication plants in the region is driving the high purity quartz market in Asia Pacific. China and Japan hold major share of the market in the region, owing to the presence of a promising semiconductor industry in these countries. Key players prefer investing in Asia Pacific, as the region has presence of natural reserves such as mineral deposits and abundant availability of labor. North America is another significant consumer of high purity quartz, with the presence of a large number of players, high-purity deposits, and manufacturing facilities in the region.
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Consolidated Nature of High Purity Quartz Market
Competition in the high purity quartz market is sustained due to varying market shares of major, well-established players. Unlike other industrial mineral sectors, the global high purity quartz market witnesses limited competition, with two producers accounting for more than 80% share of the global production. This implies that prices remain fairly steady. Covia Holdings Corporation held 72.30% share of the global high purity quartz market in 2019. The Quartz Corp., another major player in the market, constituted 10.30% share in 2019.
China-based manufacturers occupied 7.50% share of the global high purity quartz market in 2019. Deposits of quartz in China are not of high purity. The country purchases high purity quartz from the U.S. and Europe.