In 2021, the global kaolin market reached a value of $4.24 billion. By the end of this decade, the expected CAGR is 3.7%. The rise of the kaolin market is reflected in most countries in the world, including Pakistan. The market of kaolin in Pakistan has experienced many ups and downs in the past years, but how is it going to go from here?

Pakistan’s Market Trend for Kaolin

Pakistan flag illustration

Kaolin is yet to be considered a top mineral commodity in Pakistan. As for now, the title goes to marble, granite, and other minerals considered to be more valuable there. However, the market for kaolin in the country is definitely expanding. It happens due to the country’s rapid economic development in various sectors.

The market for this non-metallic mineral sees a significant increase because kaolin is a versatile raw material. Various manufacturing industries use kaolin as their main material or supplement. Pakistan’s manufacturing industries achieved a massive boom in 2021, contributing 12.79% of the country’s GDP.

It is projected that the manufacturing industries will play a bigger role in the country’s GDP in upcoming years. Therefore, the market for kaolin in Pakistan is also going up along with that growth. Government has an important task to make sure that the kaolin supply will be sufficient to support that objective.

Pakistani Industries Using Kaolin As the Raw Material

Illustration of a factory in Pakistan

As stated previously, the manufacturing industries in Pakistan are growing at a rapid pace. To keep up with that growth, there needs to be a steady supply of raw materials. Kaolin is a raw material for the following Pakistani growing industries:

1. Cement industry

The construction sector sees a great boost in Pakistan. Cement, as a popular construction material, also has a higher demand. Kaolin is a material used in the cement industry. Environmentalists recommend its use because kaolin offers good structural benefits and is also more environmentally friendly.

2. Paper industry

Pakistan also experiences growth in the paper industry. It is especially related to paper packaging. Manufacturers use kaolin for paper filling and coating. Kaolin is more economical than other materials.

Related: Kaolin in Paper Industry, the Current Production Trend

Kaolin Trade Activities in Pakistan

The mining industry for minerals (including kaolin) in Pakistan has yet to show satisfactory growth. In fact, it experienced a 3.19% decline in 2019. This is more obvious when we scrutinize the export and import values of minerals in the country. In 2019, the value for mineral export was US$1.13 billion, while the import value was $5.42.

Data from 2019 showed that Pakistan exported 1.408 tons of kaolin and other kaolinic clays. Countries receiving kaolin from Pakistan are India, United Arab Emirates, and China. The value of that export activity was really small (US$88,390), especially compared to Pakistan’s overall GDP.

In the same year, the import value of kaolin in Pakistan from the European Union alone was US$387,27 million. More recent data shows that the situation is still the same, more or less. The large discrepancy between the export and import activities of kaolin in the country shows that Pakistan relies on supplies from other countries to fulfill its needs.

Where to Find Kaolin in Pakistan

Illustration of urban atmosphere in Pakistan

Pakistan has hundreds of pits that are used to mine kaolin. Those pits are spread in two kaolin deposit areas in the country. Those areas are Shah Dheri and Nagarparkar. Although being mined in the same country, the two areas use different mining methods and yield different product qualities. 

The Shah Dheri kaolin has better quality as it is processed using the elutriation method. On the other hand, the Nagarparkar kaolin miners use a more traditional method without any scientific intervention.

Going Forward

This country has a unique geological condition that causes it to have a big mineral reserve (approximately 600,000 kilometers square). However, data from 2020 shows that out of 92 potential minerals, only 52 of them are appropriately exploited. The rest are yet to be managed and used for the betterment of the country’s economy.

Kaolin is among the untapped mineral potential in Pakistan. Not much is known about the potential reserve of kaolin in the country. It shows that the Pakistani government needs to work harder to manage more reserves. Only then, it will be less reliant on supplies from other countries, which can easily be disrupted.

However, while waiting to achieve a higher national production volume of kaolin in Pakistan, the government must secure external supplies to fulfill demands. Some foreign suppliers are willing to provide the country with high-quality material.