Various chemicals are used in the mining sector to improve productivity and the efficiency of processes such as extraction, flotation, grinding and separation.

According to a research report published this week, the market for specialty mining chemicals will show solid growth over the next few years. MarketsandMarkets expects the value of the global market to increase from an estimated $3.4 billion in 2014 to $4.3 billion by 2019, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.8 percent over the forecast period.

Looking at the market in terms of functionality, these chemicals are used as grinding aids, flocculants, solvent extractants and flotation chemicals.

The largest category is grinding aids, which accounted for around 44.2 percent of the global specialty mining chemicals market in 2013 in terms of volume. This is because of the high cost of grinding and the need to enhance its efficiency, the research firm said.

In second place is flotation chemicals, including frothers and collectors.

MarketsandMarkets found that the demand for specialty mining chemicals is mainly driven by the decrease in mineral content of ores and their increased complexity. Another significant factor is population growth and urbanization in developing countries, which is leading to greater demand for minerals and, in turn, driving the growth of specialty mining chemicals.

Overall, the consumption of specialty mining chemicals is highest in Asia-Pacific, where investment in the mining industry is on the rise. This region represented over half of the total market in 2013 in terms of volume. Decreased mining activities in North America and Europe mean that the growth of specialty mining chemicals in these regions is low, the report said.