Calcium is one of the most abundantly available elements and is commonly in sedimentary rocks such as gypsum, dolomite and calcite. Calcium can also occur in igneous and metamorphic rocks, especially in silicate minerals including garnets, plagioclases, pyroxenes, and amphiboles. Calcium is an essential metal for various physiological processes in humans as well as in other organisms. Toxicity of calcium and most of its compounds is low. It is a fairly reactive metal and reacts with water to form calcium hydroxide and generate hydrogen.
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Calcium can be utilized for several applications such as a reducing agent for extraction of metals, including thorium, zirconium, and uranium, as a deoxidizing agent, desulfurizing agent, or decarbonizing agent for a wide range of ferrous as well as nonferrous alloys. Calcium can be used as a catalyst for manufacturing alloys of aluminium, lead, beryllium, copper and magnesium. It is used for making cement and mortar employed by construction industry and for producing cheese as a coagulant to precipitate rennin protein in milk.
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Calcium is used as its compounds for a wide range of applications. Commonly used calcium compounds include calcium carbonate (CaCO3), calcium hydroxide solution (limewater), calcium arsenate (used in insecticides), calcium carbide (CaC2) for production of acetylene gas and plastics, calcium chloride (CaCl2) employed for ice removal, dust control, concrete conditioning and food preservative. Other, widely used, compounds of calcium include calcium cyclamate, calcium gluconate, calcium hypochlorite, calcium permanganate, calcium phosphate, calcium phosphide, calcium stearate, calcium sulfate and calcium tungstate.
The market is driven by increasing demand from the end-user industries of such as paper, chemicals manufacturers and construction. Recovering construction activities in North America and Europe are fueling demand for building and construction products such as cements, mortars, coatings and paints. In addition, robust growth of the chemicals and construction sectors in Asia Pacific is expected to support market growth. Calcium carbonate, calcium chloride and calcium carbide are three major calcium product segments that are estimated to drive the market growth.
In terms of geography, Asia Pacific is estimated to be the leading market attributed to the fast growing industrial applications of calcium. The region is witnessing major growth in China, Japan and South Korea owing to rapid technological advancements in these countries. High GDP of the BRICS countries is an alluring opportunity for further growth of the market demand. Rest of the world (RoW) is expected to be the fastest growing segment. In Rest of the World region, countries such as Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa are expected to witness market growth higher than GDP. Asia Pacific combined with RoW accounted for more than half of the global demand for calcium in 2012. This trend is expected to continue over the forecast period. The mature markets of Europe and North America are expected to grow slow as compared to Asia Pacific and RoW.
The market is highly fragmented with a large number of market participants. However, the market has a lot of potential owing to the wide range of applications. Some of the key players include Excalibar Minerals LLC, Huber Engineered Materials, Imerys, Maruo Calcium Co. Ltd., Minerals Technologies Inc., Mississippi Lime Company, Okutama Kogyo Co. Ltd., Omya AG, Schaefer Kalk GMBH & Co. KG, Shiraishi Kogyo Kaisha, Ltd., and Solvay S.A., among others.