Declining Quality of Silver and Gold Ores to Propel Sodium Cyanide Market

The sodium cyanide market is expected to witness considerable growth over the next decade, owing to notable rise in demand for sodium cyanide from an array of end-use industries, including mining & metallurgy, pharmaceutical, chemicals, and pigments & dyes. The degrading quality of silver and gold ores worldwide and surge in demand for silver and gold products are the leading factors that are likely to propel the sodium cyanide market. In recent times, due to mounting environmental concerns, companies operating in the current sodium cyanide market are expected to comply with stringent regulations and minimize their environmental footprint. Although the market is anticipated to witness a consistent growth, low operational costs in China, plant closures, and continual environmental inspections are some of the factors that are likely to add pressure to the supply chain within the sodium cyanide market.

The supply-side pressure is expected to influence the price of sodium cyanide during the forecast period. Although the demand and supply gap is projected to narrow down in the first half of the forecast period particularly in North America, the scenario is likely to be different across the Asia Pacific and Europe wherein market players are expected to focus on capacity additions. At the back of these factors, the sodium cyanide market is expected to grow at a steady pace during the assessment period.

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Surge in Demand from Mining Sector to Drive Market

Over the past couple of decades, sodium cyanide is increasingly being used across the mining sector due to the consistent surge in demand for silver and gold. In addition, as the demand for silver and gold continues to move in the upward trajectory, mining companies are increasingly investing resources on streamlining mining operations and maximizing efficiency— a leading factor that is expected to boost the demand for sodium cyanide in the upcoming years. Market players are also focusing on offering efficient and highly safe gold and silver cyanidation solutions, which in turn is projected to boost the growth prospects of the sodium cyanide market. While research and development activities are likely to open up new avenues within the current market landscape, market players are anticipated to maximize the efficiency in the supply chain of their products to gain an edge in the current market landscape.

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Apart from gold cyanidation, sodium cyanide is predominantly used to extract a range of valuable metals including zine and lead. Sodium cyanide is also increasingly being used for dye production and electroplating & metal plating applications– another major factor that is expected to propel the demand for sodium cyanide in the upcoming years. However, the demand for sodium cyanide could decline amidst mounting concerns over the use of sodium cyanide to improve workforce safety in mines and other end-use industries, and research focusing on the discovery of new alternatives.

Market Players to Address Supply Chain Challenges, Sales Likely to Dip in 2020 Due to COVID-19

The onset of the novel COVID-19 pandemic is expected to strongly impact the growth of the sodium cyanide market, particularly in 2020 and the first half of 2021. While operation across the mining sector is likely to stall or delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for sodium cyanide is thereby set to move in the downward direction. Furthermore, owing to trade restrictions, lockdown imposed by governments across the world, fluctuating commodity and raw material prices, the sodium cyanide market is expected to experience uncertainty in terms of growth in 2020. Market players are expected to minimize the logistics and disposition costs in the current scenario and trigger their contingency strategies to minimize losses. While North America is projected to provide a safe haven for market players in the first half of the forecast period, market participants are expected to ideally focus on formulating growth strategies to capitalize on the opportunities in the Asia Pacific and Europe.

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Analysts’ Viewpoint

The global sodium cyanide market is expected to grow at a steady CAGR of ~5% during the forecast period. The surge in demand from the mining sector, high applicability in dye production, and growing demand for use in electroplating applications are some of the leading factors that are likely to propel the demand for sodium cyanide in the upcoming years. Market players are projected to focus on enhancing their production output, improve workforce safety, and tap into opportunities in the Asia Pacific region to gain ground in the current market landscape.  

Sodium Cyanide Market in Europe and Asia Pacific: Overview

  • Sodium cyanide is highly poisonous. It remains stable at high temperatures in complete absence of carbon dioxide, air, and moisture.
  • Sodium cyanide is widely used in gold mining, due to its high affinity toward metals. It is also employed in other industries such as electroplating, agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, ore extraction, dyes, cleaning metals, and chelating agents. Demand for sodium cyanide is high in gold mining. This is expected to propel the sodium cyanide market during the forecast period.

Low Environmental Impact on Alternative Gold Ore Processing Methods to Drive Sodium Cyanide Market in Europe and Asia Pacific

  • Sodium cyanide leaching process has lower environmental impact vis-à-vis other leaching chemicals such as bromine, chlorine, and theorem
  • Several other biological media are under consideration to recover gold from ores; however, a more cost-effective and productive method than leaching with cyanide is yet to be discovered
  • Few methods exhibit promise in certain circumstances. However, sodium cyanide leaching is usually an ideal method for the recovery of the high quality gold ore oxide.
  • Thiosulfate leaching is a process that removes gold from gold bearing ores without the use of cyanide. It is not as aggressive a leaching agent as cyanide; however, thiosulfate offers several technological advantages such as lower toxicity and greater efficiency with gold deposits associated with preg-robbing ores. It still not commercialized to the extent where it can challenge the penetration of the sodium cyanide-based leaching process. Hence, low environmental impact of sodium cyanide on alternative gold ore processing methods is expected to drive the sodium cyanide market in Europe and Asia Pacific.

Adverse Environmental Effects of Mining Waste Containing Sodium Cyanide May Hamper Europe and Asia Pacific Market

  • The usage of sodium cyanide compounds in the mining industry raises several conflicting issues. Mining regulations state that sodium cyanide rapidly breaks down in water in the presence of sunlight into substances such as carbon dioxide and nitrate. It is a deadly poison in higher dose. Hence, there are limitations on the usage of sodium cyanide in mines.
  • The European Union (EU) has enacted stringent cyanide limits for tailings ponds in the world. It adopted Directive 2006/21/EC on the management of waste from mineral extraction operations. Article 13(6) requires “the concentration of weak acid dissociable cyanide in the pond reduced to the lowest possible level using best available techniques.” All mines started after May 1, 2008 may not discharge waste containing more than 10 ppm WAD cyanide, and mines built or permitted before that date are allowed no more than 50 ppm initially, falling to 25 ppm in 2013 and 10 ppm by 2018. Article 14 also requires that mine operators put in place financial guarantees to ensure cleanup after the mine has finished.

Rise in Demand for Sodium Cyanide in Russia to Offer Lucrative Opportunities to Europe Sodium Cyanide Market

  • Russia is one of the richest countries in terms of gold reserves. Currently, 475 gold mining enterprises operate in the Russian Federation. The six largest companies are Polyus (PJSC), Polymetal Int., Kinross Gold, Yuzhuralzoloto GC (JSC), Petropavlovsk Plc, and Nordgold N.V. These mine about 50% of gold in Russia.
  • Polyus operates five mines in Russia. It is the largest producer of gold in the country. It also ranks in the top 10 globally, with probable and proven reserves of 68 million ounces. Its Olimpiada and Blagodatnoye mines are among the largest gold mines in the world.
  • Production of gold is likely to continue to rise in Russia in the near future, with 19 projects in pipeline. Polyus’ Sukhoi Log, which is an untapped field of gold mine, is expected to produce 1.7 million oz of gold once operational.
  • Prices of gold have been fluctuating in Europe and Asia Pacific. However, this has little impact on the overall demand for sodium cyanide. Availability of lesser number of commercially viable alternatives to sodium cyanide allows manufacturers to dominate the market.

Recent Developments, Expansions, Acquisitions, and New Contracts in Sodium Cyanide Market in Europe and Asia Pacific

  • In February 2018, Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. announced its plans to enter into an agreement to acquire Cyanco Holding Corp. The former is an investment firm based in New York City, New York, the U.S. with its distribution network as well as offices in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
  • In December 2017, Orica Limited acquired GP Holdco Pty Ltd for US$ 205 Mn. The latter is a global leader in monitoring and measurement of technologies for the mining sector.

Asia Pacific to Dominate Sodium Cyanide Market in Europe and Asia Pacific

  • Asia Pacific dominated the sodium cyanide market in Europe and Asia Pacific in 2018, owing to the rise in demand for gold in fashion and electronics industries in these regions. The number of gold processing facilities has increased considerably in China over the last few years. China accounted for a major share of the sodium cyanide market in Asia Pacific in 2018. This trend is likely to continue during the forecast period.
  • Europe is estimated to be a highly attractive region of the sodium cyanide market in Europe and Asia Pacific during the forecast period. Its share is likely to rise during the forecast period. This can be primarily ascribed to higher production of sodium cyanide in the region. Russia is the leading commercial producer of sodium cyanide. It has one of the most advanced facilities for the production of sodium cyanide in the world.

Highly Competitive Europe and Asia Pacific Sodium Cyanide Market

  • The sodium cyanide market in Europe and Asia Pacific is highly consolidated, with the presence of a large number of players operating at local, regional, and international levels
  • Key players operating in the sodium cyanide market in Europe and Asia Pacific are
    • The Chemours Company
    • Orica Limited
    • Evonik Industries AG
    • PJSC LUKOIL
    • Hebei Chengxin Co., Ltd.
    • Changsha Hekang Chemical Co.