It is forecast that the global high-purity alumina market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27.88 percent from 2013 to 2018. Alumina, or "aluminum oxide (Al2O3)", is predominantly used (90%) for the fabrication of metallic aluminum. The remaining 10 percent is used in the non-metallurgical market, that is, for industrial usage. High-purity alumina, (alumina with a minimum purity of 99.99 percent) is the top-end product of non-metallurgical alumina market. The performance and price of the substrate depend on its level of purity. Various levels of purity are available: 4N (99.99%), 5N (99.999%) .
Highpurity alumina (HPA) offers many advantages, including superior hardness, superior corrosion resistance, and high brightness. Given these characteristics, it is increasingly used in various industries and for various applications. Major uses are semiconductors (e.g. for tablets, personal computers, and smart phones among others), phosphor (e.g. plasma televisions), lithium-ion batteries, and automotive sensors. The growth in the highpurity alumina market is driven by a number of factors such as the booming market for LED lighting and Synthetic sapphire which are deemed attractive because they are energy efficient. Lux Research estimates a 12-fold increase from $2 billion today to $25 billion in 2023, representing a compound annual growth rate of 25%.
The main challenges facing the high-purity alumina market is the increased cost of production since the manufacturing of high-purity alumina involves huge energy costs and labour costs. There needs to be increased investment in R&D to improve manufacturing processes, utilise sustainable energy resources, and enhance methods of extracting or recycling non-ferrous metals. Environmental concerns are also relevant. A likely energy crisis and the introduction of more stringent regulations have led to vendors focusing more on R&D. The production of high-purity alumina traditionally used the Bayer process which resulted in caustic residues ("red mud") that were dangerous to people and to the environment. In Hungary a red mud tailings pond leaked onto a nearby village, killing ten people and injuring 300 others. Increasingly market players are looking at more environmentally focused means of production.
Asia, in particular China, is the main supplier of highpurity alumina, though other market participants are making a name for themselves such as Orbite Aluminae Inc. in Canada. The following companies represent the main participants operating in the global high-purity alumina market: Orbite Aluminae Inc. Alcoa Inc., Sumitomo Chemicals Co. Ltd., United Co. RUSAL plc ,.,
HebeiPengda New Material Technical Co. Ltd., Henan Shenhuo Group Co. Ltd. Dalian Hiland Photoelectric Material Co. Ltd,
Hong Fu Crystal Technology Co. Ltd., Huomei Hongjun, Kyushu Mitsui Aluminium Industry Co. Ltd., Showa Denko K.K. Group,
Nippon Light Metal Co. Ltd., Norsk Hydro ASA, Rio Tinto Alcan, Well Expediting Ent. Co. Ltd., Xinjiang Joinworld Co. Ltd.,
Zibo Honghe Chemical Co. Ltd