First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
More than a quarter of UK lime production is now exported
The British Lime Association (BLA) says lime exports exceeded 300,000 tonnes in 2018.
The BLA - which is part of the Mineral Products Association - says this is more than double the level during the recession (around 140,000 tonnes in 2009) and accounts for over a quarter of the UK’s total lime output.
The BLA adds that the increase is more than just a bounceback and represents a genuine rise in export market share, exceeding pre-recession levels by around 40%. The association estimates that 2018 exports contributed more than £3m to the UK economy.
UK lime exports are both high-calcium lime, mainly destined for chemical markets, and dolomitic lime, used in steel making and manufacturing refractory products.
Andy Jackson, industrial director north for Lhoist, an exporter of UK lime products, said: “These figures prove that it’s a fallacy that ‘lime doesn’t travel’! We ship lime and dolomitic lime worldwide, maintaining quality and safe handling. The international opportunities are out there for the high quality, consistent products that we manufacture in the UK.”
Markets for British lime products exported in 2018 included South East Asia and Africa, as well as within the EU. Since 2009, lime exports have grown by 113%, which the BLA says indicates the increasing global importance of UK production.
The BLA says many materials that use lime in manufacturing, such as steel, are also internationally traded and therefore lime has both direct and indirect value to the UK.
“Lime is a fundamental but often unseen ingredient for many key industries,” said Rebecca Hooper, manager of the BLA. “Not only does it help the construction and manufacturing industries optimise their products, but it also supports the drinking water, food and farming sectors with its versatile and unique characteristics.”
She added that lime is a strategically important product for the UK. A secure and long-term supply of its raw material is readily available, which can ensure UK supply and demand is self-sufficient.