Depleting reserves threaten global sand demand

Shrinking availability of sand will be the primary factor restraining global demand growth, according to newly-published research on the global construction aggregates market from Freedonia Group. Growth in sand demand is predicted to be well below the global average and will track demand for gravel.

The report authors state that a number of countries (e.g., India, Thailand, South Korea, Saudi Arabia) are dealing with rapidly depleting sand reserves, which will limit long-term supply and will continue to increase consumer prices in regional markets.

In developed regions with strong mining regulation, such as North America and Western Europe, demand for sand is predicted to continue to stagnate or decline through 2023. In the wake of higher material prices, sand will continue to be replaced by crushed stone and widely available secondary and recycled aggregates.

In developing regions of the world, especially in the Asia/Pacific and Africa/Mideast regions, the report predicts that demand for sand will be supported in the near term by high incidences of illegal mining, as fine aggregates will still be required in a number of applications, particularly for hydraulic concrete.

Short-term demand in developing markets will also be supported by the lower availability of secondary aggregates in these regions, which limits the degree of substitution.

Despite this dichotomy, the report authors says that supply constraints and higher material prices for virgin sand will continue to shift consumer preference toward crushed stone and secondary substitutes globally. The global product mix is predicted to continue shifting, and demand for sand and gravel will remain the slowest growing products.

This article first appeared on our sister title Aggregates Business.

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