The demand for boron minerals and compounds has been growing at a steady pace driven by various exogenous and endogenous factors. First, it seems that applicability of borates is predetermined by their very nature, including their importance for humans and plants. Second, borates are utilized in various important high-tech industrial sectors. Both application streams are highly dependent on the current trends in energy, agriculture, and multiple industries, which are in turn governed by the recent developments in urbanization, economy, science and demographics. With such a strong utilization platform and adequate resources of boron minerals, borates form a highly prospective commodity group, which nevertheless requires the implementation of careful and flexible marketing strategies. Since the availability of boron minerals is limited, while their deposits are largely concentrated within a few countries, the market for borates is generally oligopolistic with little opportunities for new large players to enter the market.
Boron minerals: structure of the global production by country (in 2015)
However, the competition among the existing players is acute and the general market conditions remain harsh, boosted by prevailing economic and political uncertainty, the rise in mining expenses, constant pressure from environmental regulation and permanent threat of the appearance of substitutes for borates, at least in some application areas.
In order to survive in such a complex business environment, borate producers have to be extremely sensitive to various market fluctuations, developing flexible strategies and masterfully implementing them in practice. For instance, US Borax Inc. (Rio Tinto Minerals or RTM), acts in a truly systemic and holistic way. The company shows a vivid example of integrating different marketing strategies and operational activities. First and foremost, it offers a unique portfolio of borate products, keeping a proper balance between quality, range and customer requirements. Second, US Borax Inc. operates a versatile mix of mining, refining, packaging, distribution, research and other facilities, which gives it both global footprint and strong regional presence with an emphasis on key markets. Thirdly, the company relies heavily on research and technology developments by launching such facilities as Modified Direct Dissolving of Kernite (MMDK) plant at Boron (California). This facility allows US Borax to expand the utilization of various ore types and extend the mine life. With such well substantiated and advanced business approach, companies like US Borax Inc. are able to safeguard their position as key players in the market for boron minerals and their products.
More information on the boron minerals market can be found in the in-demand research report “Boron Minerals: 2017 World Market Review and Forecast”.