Gypsum industry news
Oman: The chief executives of the major gypsum mining companies have endorsed new regulations issued by the Public Authority for Mining (PAM) calling for a minimum export price for gypsum. The company leaders also agreed to establish the Oman Gypsum Association (OGA), an organisation intended to support the industry, according to the Oman Daily Observer newspaper. The decision follows the intervention by the PAM in December 2016 when it set minimum export freight on board (FOB) price for raw gypsum at US$12.50/t.
Following the intervention, local gypsum exporters are barred from exporting raw gypsum below this price. Those found in breach of this regulation will be denied export permits, while repeat offenders could have their mining licences removed.
Oman: Growing demand for gypsum, mainly from cement and wallboard manufacturers, should see exports from Oman reach 10Mt/yr by 2018, nearly double the present level, making it the fourth largest gypsum producing country, according to industry experts. Gypsum production is expected to hit 12Mt/yr by 2020.
Gypsum exports from Salalah Port rose from 4.15Mt in 2014 to 4.8Mt in the first 10 months of 2015. Exports are expected to reach 5.5Mt for the entire of 2015. Oman is the 10th-largest gypsum producing country in the world and is expected to become the sixth-largest in 2016, according to Zawawi Minerals' CEO Ramachandran. The US Geological Survey has estimated gypsum resources of around 950Mt in the southern part of the country. The gypsum demand growth is mainly from Asian countries like India, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh. There was a supply crunch from Thailand, where mineral mining had become heavily-regulated.
Zawawi Minerals partnered with United States Gypsum Corporation in 2012 and with Australia's Boral to launch the largest gypsum mining facility in the country. The US$16m, 3Mt/yr facility exports gypsum rock to India, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, South and East Africa, the UAE and Bangladesh. Zawawi Minerals also set up the Middle East's first Sheetrock brand gypsum wallboard plant in the Salalah Free Zone for US$37m. It has a production capacity of 10Mm2.
"Oman has emerged as the single most important source for high grade natural gypsum for cement and gypsum wallboard manufacturers across Asia and South and East Africa. With higher production and little significant change in domestic consumption, Oman may continue to export the majority of its gypsum," said Ramachandran.
Georgia/Azerbaijan: The value of imported construction materials from Azerbaijan to Georgia fell by 50% from January 2015 to September 2015, according to a report issued by the National Statistics Office of Georgia.
The country imported 64,870t of gypsum plaster and other anhydrites worth a total of US$8.7m from Azerbaijan during the period. Further, the volume of imported construction materials from Azerbaijan to Georgia decreased by 39.7% compared to the same period in 2014. Officials noted that Georgia imported 107,630t of construction materials, worth US$18.5m, from Azerbaijan during the period. Construction materials accounted for 2.2% of the total volume of Azerbaijani exports to Georgia in the first nine months of 2015. In total, Georgia imported US$392m in products from Azerbaijan in January 2015 – September 2015, or 13.7% less than in the same period in 2014.
Bhutan/Bangladesh: Gypsum exports from Bhutan to Bangladesh have declined substantially after a 5% duty was levied on the mineral in July 2015.
Figures from RSA Private Limited in Phuentsholing revealed a drastic drop in the last two months. RSA exported gypsum worth US$12,049 in August 2015 and US$24,781 in July 2015. In January 2015, RSA had recorded exports worth US$111,952. RSA is the principal company that exports gypsum to Bangladesh from Bhutan. There are about four manufacturers in the country that route their gypsum to Bangladesh through RSA.
According to the bilateral trade agreement signed between the two countries, gypsum is one of the 18 products from Bhutan that is exempted from paying tax in Bangladesh. However, the new tariff schedule the government of Bangladesh published for 2015 - 2016 specified that only importers registered as a supplier for agricultural products were exempted from this tax. All other establishments that imported gypsum from Bhutan for other purposes were levied a 5% tax. Since the gypsum exported from the country is not used as fertiliser, the number of importers has decreased in Bangladesh, disrupting demand and supply. Gypsum from Bhutan is imported mostly by cement manufacturing companies in Bangladesh.
The general secretary with Bhutan Exporters Association (BEA) Tshering Yeshi said that the harmonised system code notified by Bangladesh in July 2015 contradicted the existing code as per the bilateral trade agreement. "We discussed this issue during the joint sitting customs commission meeting in July 2015," said Yeshi, adding that the representatives from Bangladesh said that they would look into the matter immediately. However, there has been no developments to date. The bilateral trade agreement between the two countries allows 90 products from Bangladesh free of tax, while 18 products from Bhutan are duty free in Bangladesh.
US: The Port of Monroe in Michigan has been busy exporting gypsum since 4 September 2015, according to Paul C LaMarre III, port director. Five consecutive gypsum loads will leave the port in less than two weeks. Most of the activity takes place at night. The first four loads for USG Corp will be shipped to Port Colborne, Ontario, while the fifth load, for Lafarge, is headed for Alpena.
"Last year, we shipped two loads and this year we will have shipped 10, with more on the horizon," said LaMarre said. The port is also 'very close' to executing a gypsum management agreement with DTE Energy, in which the port will manage and market the gypsum produced. "This would be the first such agreement of its kind between a public port and a public utility," said LaMarre. The Port of Monroe moved more than 2.4Mt of cargo through its shipping channel in 2014, shattering the record for the second time in a row.
Oman: As the Omani national rail network currently under development connects mining sites with the Sultanate's maritime gateways, gypsum exports and other minerals will increase massively.
Oman Rail's general manager stressed that the switch from outdated truck-based shipping of minerals to rail-based freight, along with the deployment of high-capacity ship-loading systems, has the potential to send export volumes soaring. A 60,000t ship can take around 4 - 6 days to load using traditional transportation and loading techniques, so with the new system the goal is to advance that significantly by using high capacity methods of loading.
As the rail network becomes fully operational, the transportation capacity is expected to increase from an approximately 10 – 12Mt/yr to nearly 20Mt/yr.
Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan exported 36,920t of gypsum in the first half of 2015, some 40.9% less than in the same period of 2014 as reported by the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan. This was confirmed by the National Statistics Office of Georgia, which receives 100% of the Azerbaijani exports of gypsum.
According to the official figures of Azerbaijan, the declared revenue from gypsum sales abroad totalled US$566,580. However, Georgia has recorded US$5.1m of gypsum imports from Azerbaijan. Georgia has also reported that US$1.38m of gypsum was imported from Azerbaijan in July 2015. Azerbaijani customs issued the goods at the price of US$15.3/t, while in Georgia it was priced at US$138/t. In the first half of 2014, Azerbaijani gypsum was quoted in Georgia at the price of US$170/t.
In the first half of 2015, Azerbaijani gypsum production increased by 1.3% year-on-year to 92,200t, according to the State Statistics Committee. Azerbaijan also imports gypsum from Iran (860t) and Turkey (6.6t). One tonne of imported gypsum is registered for customs duties and taxes at the price of US$52.9/t, three times more expensive than in the first quarter of 2014.
Azerbaijan: Gypsum exporters in Azerbaijan deliberately reduced export prices of gypsum by a factor of 10 in 2014 to evade tax, according to research by the Turan Information Agency conducted on data from Azerbaijan and Georgia state sources.
According to the research, the export and import values for gypsum failed to match between Azerbaijan and Georgia in 2014, leading to a US$24.1m tax shortfall. Gypsum exported from Azerbaijan was valued at US$17/t but gypsum imported into Georgia was valued at US$170/t. Almost all export of gypsum of Azerbaijan appeared to go to Georgia according to data from the National Statistics Office of Georgia. Turan dubbed gypsum producers in Azerbaijan as the 'Gypsum Mafia'.
The main producers of plaster in Azerbaijan are Garant Holding and Gilan Holding. Both companies are located close to gypsum deposits in the Goranboy region. Gilan Holding has a joint venture with the German company Knauf for the production of wallboard.
Honduras: Gypsum wallboard manufacturer Gypcen is seeking to secure its position in Honduras as a pioneer in the export of this product by doubling its production from 2m sheets to 4m. The company competes with large suppliers from the US and Mexico and has invested over US$5m in order to streamline its current processes.
In 2015 Gypcen hopes to increase its product portfolio with the introduction of gypsum fertiliser and is currently in talks with a number of clients. It also plans to expend to Brazil and other Caribbean countries. Gypcen currently exports 70% of its volumes to Cuba, El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Surinam, as well as the US in small quantities.
Peru/Chile: Chilean building materials importer and trader Novochile plans to export to Peru. The company recently opened a 16Mm2/yr capacity gypsum wallboard and timber boards plant in Chile.