Lepidolite is a hard mica mineral composed of lithium, potassium, and aluminum silicates. It is usually violet colored mineral; however, it can be yellow or grey depending upon the quantity of lithium and other trace elements. Lepidolite is an ore of lithium; thus, it is a precursor for lithium production. The mineral has pearly texture, and is significantly used in jewelry due to its vibrant colors and appearance. Lepidolite is also known as a healing crystal; it is believed to reduce stress and bring prosperity. Therefore, demand for this mineral is high. Lepidolite is also employed as heat insulator in the industrial sector. The mineral is largely found in Brazil, the U.S., Russia, and several countries in Africa.
Lepidolite is significantly used in the production of lithium metal. Lithium is the lightest metal, which is employed in the manufacture of ultra-lightweight lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries for hybrid cars, mobile phones, laptops, and other portable devices. Rise in disposable income coupled with expansion of the middle class is expected to propel the demand for consumer goods. This, in turn, is anticipated to drive the lepidolite market during the forecast period. Increase in demand for high efficiency and lightweight storage batteries in several applications such as electronics, automotive, and aerospace is estimated to fuel the demand for lepidolite. Lepidolite is largely used in the industrial sector due to its beneficial thermal insulation properties. The stone also has substantial use for mineralogy and geological research. Thus, development in geological research is estimated to propel the lepidolite market during the forecast period. However, the composition of lepidolite varies significantly from one region to another. An ore with low amount of lithium is not feasible for lithium extraction. This is projected to hamper the lepidolite market in the near future.
Based on end-use, the lepidolite market can be segmented into manufacturing, jewelry, and research. Manufacturing is the key end-use segment of the lepidolite market due to the high demand for lithium in automotive, electronics, and aerospace battery applications. The jewelry segment also holds substantial share of the lepidolite market, as the mineral is attractive, lustrous, and vibrantly colored. Based on application, the lepidolite market can be divided into specimen, thermal & electric insulator, ornamental use, lithium production, and others. Lithium production is the prominent application segment of the mineral, due to significant importance of lithium metal in batteries. Specimen is also a major application segment of the lepidolite market.
In terms of geography, the market for lepidolite can be segregated into Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Developed regions such as North America and Europe are the key consumers of lepidolite due to the large disposable income of consumers and strong growth in industries. Asia Pacific is also a sizeable market for lepidolite, led by the rapid industrialization, urbanization, increase in population, and presence of fast-growing economies. High demand for lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries in Asia Pacific, North America, and Europe is projected to offer immense opportunities for the lepidolite market in these regions. High demand for jewelry and ornaments in GCC is also a major factor likely to boost the lepidolite market in Middle East & Africa during the forecast period.
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Key players operating in the global lepidolite market are Lithium Australia NL, Hallgarten & Company, Hangzhou J&H Chemical Co. Ltd, SVS Chemical Corporation, Cristian Grup Srl, Mc Chemical Co., Ltd, and Univar.