Ferroniobium Market

Ferroniobium Market Analysis by Lump, Fine, and Briquette Forms from 2024 to 2034)

Analysis of Ferroniobium Market Covering 30+ Countries Including Analysis of US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Nordics, GCC countries, Japan, Korea and many more

Ferroniobium Market Outlook (2024 to 2034)

The global ferroniobium market size is estimated to reach US$ 3.06 billion in 2024. As per this latest global market overview by Fact.MR, the market is forecasted to expand at a CAGR of 6.5% to reach US$ 5.74 billion by the end of 2034.

The Earth's crust contains niobium, a metallic trace element. It has a soft and ductile solid form and a high melting point (2,500 °C). Niobium is frequently alloyed with metals such as iron, titanium, aluminum, zirconium, and tin to increase its usefulness.

  • Ferroniobium is an important niobium alloy that comprises 60% to 70% niobium and iron.

Niobium is recovered from pyrochlore deposits and converted into niobium pentoxide (NB2O5). This oxide is then combined with iron oxide and aluminum and reduced in an aluminothermic process to produce niobium and iron. The metals can be refined in an electron beam furnace, or the alloy can be utilized directly. Ferroniobium is added to liquid steel before it is cast.

  • The steel industry accounts for nearly 94% of ferroniobium usage.

Ferroniobium is used to increase the strength of steel, requiring only a small amount per unit of steel. This results in lesser overall steel usage and significant cost savings. Ferroniobium finds extensive application in the automotive sector, contributing to improved grain structure in stainless steel. This enhances yield strength, tensile strength, and impact toughness. Ferroniobium boosts the strength-to-weight ratio of steel. This, in turn, reduces vehicle weight, enhancing fuel efficiency. Ferroniobium plays a role in corrosion mitigation by stabilizing chromium in stainless steel, preventing its interaction with carbon and nitrogen, especially in conditions of relative humidity, dissolved oxygen, and temperature.

Report Attributes Details
Ferroniobium Market Size (2023A) US$ 2.86 Billion
Estimated Market Value (2024E) US$ 3.06 Billion
Forecasted Market Value (2034F) US$ 5.74 Billion
Global Market Growth Rate (2024 to 2034) 6.5% CAGR
East Asia Market Share (2024E) 38.6%
Key Companies Profiled
  • Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM)
  • Anglo American
  • China Molybdenum Co. (CMOC)
  • American Elements
  • NioCorp
  • Taseko Mines
  • Titanex
  • Guangdong Hanrui Cobalt
  • Metallic Alloys
  • MM Ceramics & Ferro Alloys
  • Nui Phao Mining Company
  • Metallurgical Products India Ltd.
  • Inner Mongolia Pusheng Iron & Steel Co., Ltd.
  • Anglo American
  • Alkane Resources
  • Panda Hill Mining
  • Magris Resources

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Ferroniobium Sales Analysis (2019 to 2023) vs. Market Estimates (2024 to 2034)

Demand for high-strength steels, superconductors, and magnets in the past has led to significant progress in technology and infrastructure. Nowadays, these materials have become crucial for the development of lightweight vehicles, buildings, high-speed rail, medical imaging, and wind turbines. Ferroniobium, which is a key component in all three materials, plays a vital role in making these components stronger, more efficient, and less expensive to operate.

Ferroniobium is currently used as an additive material for the synthesis of HSLA (high-steel low-alloy) and stainless steel production. Owing to the technological advancement in the steel production industry across the globe, the production of ferroniobium is also increasing globally.

  • Short Term (2024 to 2027): The market is projected to grow significantly from 2024 to 2027, driven by the increasing demand for lightweight materials in sectors such as aerospace and automotive, as well as technological advancements.
    • In the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Rene 88DT, a ferroniobium superalloy, is used to make high-pressure turbine blades in the aerospace sector.
  • Medium Term (2027 to 2030): The market is forecasted to exhibit rapid growth in the medium term, primarily due to the increased use of HSLA steel in the construction sector. By 2030, China, the United States, and India are projected to collectively account for 50% of the global construction and engineering market. Moreover, the top 10 construction companies worldwide are projected to account for 69.7% of all construction activities by 2030. To construct durable homes, ferroniobium-containing steel is being increasingly used in the production of reinforcing bars (rebar) for concrete structures.
  • Long Term (2030 to 2034): Demand for powder-based ferroniobium is projected to keep growing in the long term. This trend is attributed to the increasing awareness of environmental sustainability, particularly in the automotive sector, where niobium recycling presents an eco-friendly solution for reducing environmental impact. According to the analysis of the niobium supply chain from 2030 to 2040, primary production is forecasted to account for 47% of energy consumption and 75% of gas emissions. By implementing recycling, 133 to 161 million giga-joules of energy can be saved and CO2 emissions can be reduced by 53 to 75 MT, leading to an annual decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by 20%.

From 2019 to 2023, global ferroniobium market growth was recorded at a CAGR of 4.8%. According to the study by Fact.MR, a market research and competitive intelligence provider, ferroniobium sales are projected to increase at 6.5% CAGR from 2024 to 2034.

Market Dynamics

Ferroniobium plays a crucial role in micro-alloy formulations, particularly in HSLA and stainless steel for the automotive sector.

  • A study by the World Steel Association highlights the significance of ferroniobium in reducing vehicle weight and enhancing fuel efficiency.

With the escalating demand for high-quality steel, especially from Brazil, Russia, India, and China, where steel often has lower ferroniobium content, the demand for ferroniobium is projected to grow through 2034.

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What are the Primary Reasons Driving Demand for Ferroniobium?

“Increasing Crude Steel Production Worldwide”

As per the latest ferroniobium market trends, one of the main factors driving demand for ferroniobium is the constantly increasing crude steel production across the globe. Ferroniobium is essential as an alloying element in the production of stainless steel grades and HSLA steels. World's production of crude steel is estimated to exhibit 3.3% Y-o-Y growth to reach 145.5 million tons in 2024.

To spur economic growth, developing countries such as China and India are making significant investments in infrastructure development and the expansion of steel production. Demand for steel is being further propelled by the expanding industrial and construction sectors, generating a need for steel in infrastructure projects, factories, machinery, appliances, and real estate.

Performance and fabrication capabilities of steel are improved by ferroniobium. Steel can have up to 0.1% ferroniobium added to it to increase its strength. Steel industry participants are employing ferroniobium to maximize the production of innovative, high-strength steel products and steel alloys for cutting-edge uses in the infrastructure, energy, and transportation sectors. Approximately 90% of niobium production elements originate from Brazil. Additional reserves can be found in Africa as well as the United States, Australia, Canada, and Russia.

“Growing Emphasis on Lowering Carbon Emissions by Producing Lightweight Vehicles”

Lightweight materials are becoming more and more important in the manufacturing of automobiles with governments throughout the globe placing a greater emphasis on lowering carbon emissions and enhancing fuel efficiency. For every kilogram of niobium added to one ton of steel, the weight of the component is reduced by 10% while strength and durability are increased.

Niobium-based alloys find widespread application in the manufacturing of high-performance automobiles and engines. This is supported by the newly emerging, rapidly growing demand for niobium in emerging technologies, including space travel and the production of high-performance, safe, and fast-rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles.

  • The niobium-intensive ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) in France is a prime example of niobium's unique role in leading-edge technology. ITER is a 35-nation collaboration that aims to replicate the solar energy processes to demonstrate nuclear fusion energy on a commercial scale. This reactor can revolutionize the development of emission-free power generation.

What are the Challenges Confronting Producers of Ferroniobium?

“Stringent Environmental Regulations Increasing Cost of Compliance”

Manufacturing of ferroniobium involves energy and capital-intensive mining, processing, and metallurgical refining, which has a significant negative impact on the environment. Plans for industrial expansion and supply growth are being hampered by rising compliance costs brought on by stricter global waste management, emissions, and climate policies.

In addition to taxes and carbon pricing methods, producers must bear the direct expenses of constructing pollution-reducing machinery, handling waste and tailings disposal, and restoring mining sites. Indirect costs increase as a result of supply chain partners having to pay more for ESG compliance.

  • For instance, CBMM, a pioneer in ferroniobium, allocated more than US$ 100 million for environmental and sustainability initiatives for the year 2023. Producers adhering to best practice guidelines may find it feasible to survive in more cost-effective environments.

Costs associated with environmental compliance across the production chain prevent ferroniobium from growing in capacity and force steelmakers to raise their pricing for consumers. Although major producers can bear these high expenses, smaller players' investments in the market are hindered. In the end, there is a significant constraint on the growth of the ferroniobium supply due to the pressure of increasing environmental restrictions and carbon emission pricing.

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Country-wise Insights

Why are Producers of Ferroniobium Investing in Brazil?

“Significant Concentration of Niobium Ore”

Brazil is set to account for bulk of the Latin American ferroniobium market share through 2034. The country possesses a substantial amount of niobium ore, amounting to over 824.6 million tons, with an average grade of 0.43%. A majority of the ferroniobium produced is used in the production of steel. Niobium is mainly sourced from the mineral pyrochlore, which is obtained in Brazil and Canada.

Pyrochlore is not traded internationally since it is first transformed into ferroniobium and other related goods before it can be exported. Artisanal mining in Africa and South America is one of the primary sources of other minerals such as columbite and columbite-tantalite, which are used to produce niobium for non-steel applications.

Brazil has consistently dominated the overall supply chain of ferroniobium, and the companies operating in this market are projected to have significant bargaining power over end-users in the medium term.

Why is China a Lucrative Market for Ferroniobium Producers?

“Government Support for Boosting Ferroniobium Use in Production of Electric Vehicle Components”

The market for ferroniobium in China is forecasted to expand at a CAGR of 7.1% and reach US$ 1.67 billion by the end of 2034.

China has witnessed a surge in the usage of ferroniobium. This is due to the government's push towards electrification, which has made China a leading manufacturer of electric vehicles. Consequently, there has been a significant increase in the demand for ferroniobium material for stainless steel production.

Stainless steel is a crucial component in the production of a single automotive unit. It is used in parts such as hose clamps, head gaskets, pump bodies, heat shields, windscreen wipers, airbag inflation gas containers, and seatbelt springs.

  • Tsingshan Holding Group Co., Ltd, one of the largest stainless steel producers in China, produced almost 3.35 million MT in 2020. This number increased to 3.87 million MT in 2021 and it reached 5.21 million MT in 2023. This demonstrates the growing demand for stainless steel in China, which has a direct impact on the increased production of ferroniobium material to meet this demand.

Category-wise Insights

Why Does Powdered Ferroniobium Find Wide Range of Applications?

“Ferroniobium Playing Crucial Role in Enhancing Corrosion Resistance of Steel Products”

Ferroniobium powder (fines) is mainly used to increase the strength of alloys and to produce HSLA steels. These steels are widely used in the automotive, pipe fabrication, structural steel, and stainless steel industries, especially for applications that require resistance to high temperatures. Additionally, ferroniobium powder is used to manufacture special stainless steel that is highly resistant to heat. It imparts a doubling of strength and toughness due to grain refining and weight reduction of HSLA steel while also boosting the steel's corrosion resistance.

In the EV sector, powdered ferroniobium's usage in battery packs is a promising breakthrough.

  • Toshiba's next-generation battery pack for electric cars has a niobium anode, which allows for improved performance, longer life, faster charging, and safer batteries. It is projected to become the industry standard.
  • Ferroniobium superalloy (ferroalloy) was manufactured and integrated into advanced airframe systems of the Gemini program and the primary engine of Apollo Lunar Modules, as well as the rocket thruster nozzles of SpaceX's Melin Vacuum engines for the upper stages of the Falcon 9 rocket.

Why is There Widespread Use of Ferroniobium in HSLA Steel Production?

“Ferroniobium Enhancing Strength and Durability of HSLA Bridge Beams to Support Heavy Loads”

Revenue from ferroniobium sales for use in HSLA production is projected to increase at a CAGR of 6.7% and top US$ 4.8 billion by 2034.

Ferroniobium is a microalloying element that is added to steel in small quantities (typically less than 0.1%) to improve its mechanical properties, particularly strength, toughness, and weldability. HSLA steels have unique applications in the construction, automotive, aerospace, oil and gas, and energy sectors. HSLA steels are the primary material used for bridge beams, providing the necessary strength and durability to support heavy loads and withstand dynamic forces. The refinement of grain structure by ferroniobium further enhances the weldability of HSLA steels, allowing for the seamless joining of bridge segments.

Competitive Landscape

The market for ferroniobium is currently dominated by several major players such as Synthomer, Kolon Industries, Rain Industries (Rain Carbon Germany GmbH), Kraton Corporation, Cray Valley (TotalEnergies), VNK AS, Yasuhara Chemical Co., Ltd., Neville Chemical Company, and Puyang Tiancheng Chemical Co., Ltd.

To meet growing product demand, leading companies in the ferroniobium market are focusing on diversifying their product portfolio, exploring possible mergers with other organizations, and expanding into new regions. They are also developing strategies to create eco-friendly products, investing heavily in research and development for a sustainable future. Through their efforts, several breakthroughs have been made along the way.

Fact.MR has provided detailed information about the price points of key manufacturers of ferroniobium positioned across regions, sales growth, production capacity, and speculative technological expansion, in the recently published report.

Segmentation of Ferroniobium Market Research

  • By Grade :

    • Standard
    • High Purity
  • By Form :

    • Lumps
    • Fines
    • Briquettes
  • By End Use :

    • HSLA Production
    • Stainless Steel Production
    • Others
  • By Region :

    • North America
    • Latin America
    • East Asia
    • South Asia & Oceania
    • Europe
    • Middle East & Africa

- FAQs -

Which region accounts for a leading share of the ferroniobium market?

East Asia is projected to hold 38.6% share of the global ferroniobium market in 2024.

What are the estimated sales of ferroniobium in 2024?

Worldwide sales of ferroniobium are estimated at US$ 3.06 billion in 2024.

What is the projected valuation of the global market for 2034?

The global market is forecasted to reach a valuation of US$ 5.74 billion by 2034-end.

What is the demand growth projection for ferroniobium through 2034?

Global demand for ferroniobium is forecasted to expand at 6.5% CAGR through 2034.

What are the projections for the market in China?

China is projected to account for 71.3% share of the East Asian market in 2024.

How is the ferroniobium market forecasted to fare in the United States?

The market in the United States is projected to reach US$ 654 million by 2034.

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Ferroniobium Market

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