Hydrogen peroxide, a strong oxidant, is a light blue fluid and is a bit more viscous than water. It is weakly acidic in nature but has strong oxidizing properties due to which it acts as a powerful bleaching agent that is typically used for bleaching paper. Hydrogen peroxide is highly unstable, readily decomposing into oxygen and water with release of heat. The end use industries of hydrogen peroxide include pulp & paper, chemicals, water treatment, and mining. Application of hydrogen peroxide in the mining industry is primarily for extraction of precious metals especially gold.
Based on the process of synthesis, the hydrogen peroxide market for gold extraction can be segmented in two different ways, namely: direct synthesis from hydrogen and oxygen, and anthraquinone process. The former method is typically a laboratory synthesis method while the latter is used for large scale manufacturing of hydrogen peroxide for industrial use. The industrial synthesis includes hydrogenation of anthraquinone to obtain anthrahydroquinone, which is later oxidized and finally hydrogen peroxide is obtained by liquid-liquid extraction and vacuum distillation. The anthraquinone process synthesis segment was the prominent synthesis in 2016 and is expected to continue to dominate during the forecast period. This is due to the fact that it is an economical method for large scale production of hydrogen peroxide for industrial purposes.
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Hydrogen peroxide is used in the mining industry for the extraction of precious metals such as gold, platinum, and palladium. Gold extraction from natural sources, including gold rocks and gold ores, can be done by leaching the gold concentrate or crushed gold rocks, in a solution of hydrogen peroxide and hydrochloric acid. By using hydrogen peroxide, the extraction of gold is reasonably economical and eco-friendly compared to other extraction methods. The hydrogen peroxide market for gold extraction is driven by the demand for gold in jewelry, investment, central banks & other institutes, and technology.
Based on region, the global hydrogen peroxide market for gold extraction is divided into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. Among these regions, Asia Pacific is the dominant regional segment of the global hydrogen peroxide market for gold extraction as China and India created significant demand for gold in 2016, which is expected to increase further during the forecast period. The market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to be followed by Europe owing to increasing demand in countries such as Germany and the sub-region of the U.K.
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In developed regions such as North America and Europe, the demand for gold is primarily from major central banks which is quite low as compared to the demand from jewelry in regions such as Asia Pacific and Middle East & Africa. These factors are major drivers for the global hydrogen peroxide market for gold extraction. The markets in Brazil and South Africa (in Latin America and Middle East & Africa respectively) are projected to show stable growth for the hydrogen peroxide market for gold extraction in the coming years as the latter is a significant producer of gold.
Key players operating in the global hydrogen peroxide market for gold extraction are BASF SE, Evonik Industries AG, Arkema S.A, Akzo Nobel N.V., and Solvay S.A., among others. The competition between prominent players is consolidated, with strategies such as mergers & acquisitions are expected to be observed as companies strive for improved revenues and shares in the market.