In the past, high-purity quartz sand was mainly processed and purified by crystal, but considering the scarcity and high price of crystal, since the last century, the world, including my country, began to use quartz ore to prepare high-purity quartz sand and realize full-scale industrial production.
From the technical point of view, the entire purification process can be summarized into three processes: pretreatment, physical treatment and chemical treatment, specifically using a variety of beneficiation methods such as crushing, grinding, screening, magnetic separation, pickling, and chlorination roasting. However, considering the technical level and process differences, there are big differences in the product quality of different companies. There are very few companies that can eliminate impurities and stably produce 4N grade quartz sand, and there are only 3 leading companies in the world.
The high requirement of raw material ore is another big barrier, and the general requirement is high-grade vein quartz ore. The global raw materials are distributed in 7 countries including the United States, Norway, Australia, Russia, Mauritania, China, and Canada, but some mining conditions are not yet mature. The Spruce Pine mine in the United States is recognized as a high-grade mine in the world, and it is also the world’s main raw material supplier in the past few years. Based on this resource endowment, Unimin has gradually grown and become a global leader. At present, there are also some mines in other countries that have better mining/utilization markets.
In the medium term, countries have increased their exploration efforts in recent years, and it is expected to break the monopoly of American mines in the field of raw materials in the future. my country also has vein quartz ore resources, which are concentrated in Hubei, Anhui, Xinjiang and other areas. In the medium term, it is expected to form raw material substitution under the technological upgrading.
In the past, my country’s high-purity quartz sand mainly relied on imports, and there were few localized materials in the photovoltaic industry chain. Under the mature conditions of mine exploration and mining and the continuous breakthrough of leading enterprise technology, high-purity quartz sand is expected to be fully localized, and it is expected to shift from the current product import substitution to the raw material import substitution, and gradually get rid of the status quo of being stuck overseas. At the same time, in the higher-end semiconductor quartz sand market, there will also be opportunities for localization in the future. From the perspective of the photovoltaic market alone, the properties of crucible consumables have caused the demand for quartz sand to be basically in line with the trend of installed capacity in the medium term. Assuming 240gw installed capacity in 2022, the demand for high-purity quartz sand is about 70,000 tons.
At present, the downstream boom is accelerating and the supply of some enterprises is shrinking, and the quartz sand industry is expected to usher in a situation of rising volume and price in 2022. In this context, further considering transportation costs, tariff changes, supply chain security and other issues, it is worth looking forward to the accelerated localization of high-purity quartz sand.
At present, the world’s main suppliers of high-purity quartz are the United States Unimin, Norway TQC, Germany ANZAPLAN, Russian Quartz Company and Quartz Co., Ltd. and several other companies. Among them, the high-purity quartz raw materials used by Unimin in the United States and TQC in Norway are mainly produced in the Spruce Pine area of the United States. Quartz is the third company in the world and the first mass-produced company in China. The breakthrough of the company’s quartz sand purification technology stems from the significant contribution of Professor Chen Peirong of Nanjing University, with a research and development history of more than 5 years. The core advantage of the quartz sand business of Quartz Co., Ltd. lies in the advantages of purification technology accumulated over the years and the advantages of unique mining channels. Based on this, under the current background of the entire industry chain, the company is one of the few companies in the industry that can expand and expand production. Therefore, the incremental marginal demand in the industry is basically focused on the company, which in turn supports its rapid increase in market share. In 2021, the company’s quartz sand gross profit margin will be about 57%. With the demand boom + supply staged control, the price of a single quartz sand product will increase, and under the two-way support of the superimposed increase in the proportion of inner sand, its profitability will still improve in the next 1-3 years. space.