Investing in Calcium

Calcium is the fifth most abundant element in the Earth's crust, and the most common metal in many animals. It is not found naturally in its elemental state, but occurs as the minerals calcite, dolomite and gypsum.

Domestic Production and Use: In 2010, an estimated 18.0 million tons (19.8 million short tons) of quicklime and hydrate was produced (excluding commercial hydrators) at a value of about $1.8 billion. At yearend, there were 31 companies producing lime, which included 21 companies with commercial sales and 10 companies that produced lime strictly for internal use (for example, sugar companies). These companies had 73 primary lime plants (plants operating lime kilns) in 29 States and Puerto Rico. The 4 leading U.S. lime companies produced quicklime or hydrate in 24 States and accounted for about 80% of U.S. lime production. Principal producing States were Alabama, Kentucky, and Missouri (each with production of more than 2 million tons), and Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas (each with production of more than 1 million tons). Major markets for lime were, in descending order of consumption, steelmaking, flue gas desulfurization (fgd), construction, water treatment, mining, precipitated calcium carbonate, and pulp and paper.

Lime is not a commodity that is traded internationally. Traditionally, lime has been a low-value bulk product that could not be shipped long distances and compete with lime produced locally. Most countries have limestone or dolomite deposits and as a result are able to manufacture lime for their own consumption.

Recycling: Large quantities of lime are regenerated by paper mills. Some municipal water-treatment plants regenerate lime from softening sludge. Quicklime is regenerated from waste hydrated lime in the carbide industry. Data for these sources were not included as production in order to avoid duplication.

Events, Trends, and Issues: In 2010, the U.S. economy began a slow recovery from the longest recession since the 1930s. Production of raw steel, lime’s largest end-use market, increased by about 35% in 2010 compared with that of 2009. This accounted for a significant portion of the increase in lime production and consumption in 2010. The flue gas desulfurization market benefitted from increased coal consumption for electricity generation as a result of the unusually long, hot summer experienced in the East and South. Regionally, lime sales were boosted by construction projects using lime for soil stabilization.

Although the lime industry reported significant production increases at many plants, a number of the plants idled in 2009 remained shut down during 2010. These included plants in Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Utah, and Virginia.The lime industry is facing possible future regulation of carbon dioxide emissions after the U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA) published findings that greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), including carbon dioxide, threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations. These “endangerment” findings allow the EPA to require that any modification to a stationary source that increases GHG emissions above the significance threshold would need to go through “prevention of significant deterioration” (PSD) review and install the “best available control technology.” In 2010, the EPA published its “PSD and title V greenhouse gas tailoring rule” to establish the applicability criteria that determine which stationary sources and modification projects become subject to permitting requirements for GHG emissions. The tailoring rule is designed to phase in regulation of GHG emissions from stationary sources by temporarily increasing the amount of GHG emissions that would trigger PSD, so that tens of thousands of sources are not immediately swept into the PSD program.

World Resources: Domestic and world resources of limestone and dolomite suitable for lime manufacture are adequate.

Substitutes: Limestone is a substitute for lime in many applications, such as agriculture, fluxing, and sulfur removal. Limestone, which contains less reactive material, is slower to react and may have other disadvantages compared with lime, depending on the application; however, limestone is considerably less expensive than lime. Calcined gypsum is an alternative material in industrial plasters and mortars. Cement, cement kiln dust, fly ash, and lime kiln dust are potential substitutes for some construction uses of lime. Magnesium hydroxide is

Rio Tinto -
United States Gypsum Corporation (NYSE: USG)
Eagle Materials (NYSE: EXP) - mining of gypsum and manufacture and sale of gypsum wallboard.
Lafarge S.A. (NYSE: LR) - This French construction giant has a major gypsum division.
Kuwait Gypsum Manufacturing & Trading Co (KUW: GYPSUM) - manufacturing and trading of raw gypsum and production of gypsum machinery and equipment.
Chemical Lime
Mississippi Lime
United Sates Lime & Minerals
Martin Marietta Magnesia Specialties
Western Lime
Southern Lime
American Crystal Sugar
ArcelorMittal (NYSE: MT)
American Elements - - Calcium metal, calcium hydrade, calcium stabilized zirconia, calcium acetate, calcium bromide, calcium carbonate, calcium chloride, calcium fluoride, calcium nitrate, calcium oxalate, calcium oxide, and calcium sulfate. Also alloys of calcium with magnesium, aluminum and silicon.

National Lime Association -

Calcium News
2010-11-01 - (fc) - How a handful of countries control the Earth's most precious materials
2010-01-27 - (pr) - Production and market of calcium acetate in China

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