The market for Africa sodium cyanide is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 3% during the forecast period. The major factor driving the growth of the market studied is increasing demand from the gold mining activities. On the flipside, toxicity of sodium cyanide is expected to hinder the growth of the market studied.
- By end-user industry, the mining industry accounted for the largest share, with about 85% of the total volume of the market studied.
- South Africa dominated the market studied with about 20% of the total volume of the market studied.
Key Market Trends
Increasing Demand from Mining Industry
- A major portion of the sodium cyanide produced worldwide is used in mining and metallurgy, especially in extracting gold and silver. It is one of the most economically viable, easily processable, and environmentally sustainable technologies for processing gold.
- Typically, gold is extracted from its ore using sodium cyanide through leeching. In this process, the ore is crushed into a fine powder using industrial machinery. Then, the dust is added to a solution of sodium cyanide (NaCN) and allowed to process.
- During the process, the gold molecules form strong bonds with the NaCN and become water soluble. The application of zinc separates the cyanide molecules from the gold and turns the gold back into solid, preparing it for the smelting process.
- Africa has an abundance of mineral sources, which makes it a hub for the global mining industry. Apart from South Africa, which has a major mining industry, the countries, like Ghana, Mali, and Burkina Faso, also have rapidly growing mining industries.
- West Africa is a prime spot for gold exploration. It attracted major investments from companies worldwide in the past few years, owing to the largely untouched mineral reserves present in the region. There has been a major growth in the gold assets in West Africa, with around 367 assets in the exploration stage, 24 assets under economic assessment, and 61 assets in production or construction stage.
- However, factors, like the increased royalty taxes and GST in Zambia, and new mining codes for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, might result in a decline in foreign investments in the mining industry in the future. This factor might hinder the growth of the African mining industry in the future.
- Sasol, one of the major players, operates six coal mines to supply feedstock to its complexes (Sasol Synfuels and Sasolburg Operations) in South Africa.
- In some countries, mining is affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. This factor is anticipated to affect the growth of the sodium cyanide market in the short term.
- Overall, the application of sodium cyanide in mining and metallurgy is expected to increase during the forecast period.
South Africa to Dominate the Market
- South Africa has witnessed a huge economic slump over the past decade. One of the key reasons for the slump is the maturity of the mining sector in the country.
- South Africa was the world’s leading gold producer, until 2007. However, the production has declined significantly since then, due to the stagnation of the country’s mining industry.
- In 2019, gold sales in the country increased by 3.7% at R72.6 billion, in 2019. Nonetheless, the annual gold mining production volume in 2019 declined to 101.3 metric ton, which was 117.0 metric ton in 2018. Currently, South Africa is the second-largest gold producer in Africa, and it accounted for around 4% of the global gold production.
- Some of the major gold mines in the country include the South Deep gold mine, Kromdraai gold mine, Mponeng gold mine, East Rand gold mine, and Tautona gold mine, among others.
- The South African chemical industry is majorly an upstream sector for the country’s mining and agricultural sectors. It is also one of the major chemical industries in Africa. As the country has significant raw material sources, increase in foreign investment may create major growth opportunities in the country’s chemical sector in the future.
- The Chemicals business of Sasol is South Africa’s sole manufacturer of sodium cyanide solution, which is sold to the local gold mining industry for the extraction and elution of gold. In South Africa, Sasol Polymers Sasolburg operates Sodium Cyanide Production Plants 1 and 2, which have been recertified in full compliance with the International Cyanide Management Code (Cyanide Code).
- Harmony Gold has announced that it expects limited gold production during the 21-day lockdown in South Africa, in the wake of the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic. With the lockdown measures in place, the company expects to only produce between 650 kg and 700 kg of gold.
- The company has temporarily closed its nine underground mines in the country, to comply with the lockdown measures imposed by the government, amid COVID-19 outbreak.
- Thus, the sodium cyanide market is expected to witness adverse effects of COVID-19, however, this effect is not expected to last for longer.
The African sodium cyanide market is majorly consolidated in nature with the top four players accounting for a significant share, in terms of production capacities. Major players in the market include TAEKWANG INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD, TSPC, Sasol, Orica Limited, and Australian Gold Reagents Pty Ltd, among others.
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