Phosphogypsum: Introduction

  • Phosphogypsum, also called calcium sulfate hydrate, is formed as a by-product during the production of fertilizer from phosphate rock. Phosphogypsum is a side-product obtained from the production of phosphoric acid by treating phosphate ore (apatite) with sulfuric acid. It is primarily composed of gypsum (CaSO4·2H2O). Gypsum is a widely used material in the building & construction industry; however, phosphogypsum is usually not utilized in building construction.

Key Drivers of Global Phosphogypsum Market

  • The market for phosphogypsum is expected to expand at a significant pace during the forecast period. Expansion of the infrastructure sector is expected to drive the demand for phosphogypsum.
  • Significant demand for phosphogypsum from diverse industries such as agriculture and infrastructure construction is expected to fuel the market during the forecast period
  • Phosphogypsum is employed in agriculture for soil amendment, or as fertilizer, as well as in the brick and cement industry and in road construction
  • Rapid infrastructural developments is estimated to boost the consumption of phosphogypsum at a rapid pace across the globe in the near future. Furthermore, the sources of natural gypsum are limited, and the production of natural gypsum has reduced. Consequently, cement makers across the world are considering the utilization of by-product phosphogypsum as a suitable substitute in order to cater to the rising demand.

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Road Construction Application Segment to Dominate Global Market

  • Based on application, the road construction segment accounted for a major share of the phosphogypsum market. Rise in demand for construction materials, increased number of roads and other infrastructure construction activities, and investment in infrastructure construction are key factors that are estimated to drive the demand for phosphogypsum during the forecast period.
  • Phosphogypsum discharged into the sea, watercourses, or in wilderness stocks, contains toxic elements including heavy metals and radionuclides, which are harmful to ecosystems and human health, and hence, there are concerns about its environmental impact. Therefore, phosphogypsum is utilized in various applications including public infrastructures and agriculture applications.

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Availability of Various Substitutes to Hamper Global Market

  • The United States Environmental Protection Agency has banned a majority of applications of phosphogypsum with having a 226Ra concentration of greater than 10 picocurie/gram (0.4 Bq/g). Consequently, phosphogypsum that exceeds this specific limit is stored in large stacks.
  • However, The United States Environmental Protection Agency approved the use of phosphogypsum for road construction in 2020, mentioning that the approval has been granted at the request of The Fertilizer Institute, which advocates for the fertilizer industry. Environmentalists opposed the decision, saying that using the radioactive material in this way can pose health risks.

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Covid-19 Impact on Phosphogypsum Market

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has led to interruption of various manufacturing facilities, disruption of the supply chain, and reduced demand for products from construction and other industries. Therefore, the demand for phosphogypsum is anticipated to decline in several end-use industries in 2020 and 2021.
  • Demand for phosphogypsum has been declining owing to reduced manufacturing output and delayed expansion projects across the globe owing to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a rise in the demand from the agriculture industry is driving the market for phosphogypsum

North America to Hold Significant Share of Global Phosphogypsum Market

  • In terms of region, the global phosphogypsum market can be divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa
  • North America is anticipated to hold a notable share for the global phosphogypsum market during the forecast period. Acceptance of phosphogypsum for use in road construction and fertilizers along with expansion of the construction sector in the region is projected to propel the demand for phosphogypsum in North America.
  • Asia Pacific is projected to dominate the global phosphogypsum market during the forecast period. Demand for phosphogypsum is estimated to rise owing to its extensive use in road construction, cover for landfills, and as soil conditioner applications in the region. The well-established infrastructure and construction industry in Asia Pacific is offering significant opportunities for the phosphogypsum market.

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Key Players Operating in the Market

The global phosphogypsum market is fragmented with several small domestic players operating in at country or regional level. Key players operating in the global phosphogypsum market include:

  • Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited (IFFCO)
  • Paradeep Phosphates Limited (PPL)
  • Coromandel International
  • Hindalco Industries Limited (HIL)
  • Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Limited (FACT)
  • Greenstar Fertilizers
  • Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. (GSFC)
  • IRC Agrochemicals Private Limited
  • Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers (RCF)

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