Dating back to the old records of the Joseon Dynasty, the South Korean Royal porcelain kiln has used white clays. Since then, the use of kaolin in South Korea has penetrated to other diverse applications due to market demands and technological innovations.  

Let’s delve into some questions to explore more about kaolinite clays in this country, famously dubbed as kimchi and ginseng homeland. 

How is the Kaolin Market Trend in South Korea?

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Apart from ceramics, paper-making and paper-coating have been among those industries with the largest kaolin consumption. More emerging markets include agriculture and pharmaceuticals.

We can say it thanks to the favorable chemical properties kaolin has. They are naturally occurring, chemically inert, and water-soluble minerals, not to mention their antimicrobial properties. Apart from ceramics and paper-making, there is growing adoption of kaolin as a raw material for producing significant medicinal and commercial cosmetic products.

Take a look at the beauty care and wellness industry, for example. The production of face washes, facial masks, body scrubs, and mud packs has made the most out of these white clay chemical properties that are good at absorbing proteins, lipids, and oils. 

What are the Kaolin Trade Activities in South Korea?

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Minerals, including kaolin, are among the most traded commodities between South Korea and the United States in 2020, along with machinery and mechanical appliances, chemicals, plastics, agriculture, and leather products.

A. Export Activities

The average kaolin tariff for South Korea was 1.8% in 2018. This country made to export $1.56 million in kaolin in 2020 to some key regional destinations like China, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, and India.

Related: The Process of Kaolin Export and How Much It’s Worth

B. Import Activities

In addition to domestic reserves, South Korea imported $42.8 million in kaolin in 2020, mainly from the global markets of the United States, China, Brazil, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

Related: Tips for Importers: What to Consider When Buying Kaolin Import

C. The Latest Trade Activities

Per July 2022, kaolin exports by South Korea amounted to $132k, mostly to neighboring countries like Japan, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and India. As for imports, they were mainly from the United States, China, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom, which amounted to $4.28 million.

Who are the End-Users of Kaolin in South Korea?

Based on the end-user industry, the global kaolin market, as well as kaolin in South Korea, has been segmented into the paper industry, ceramic industry, paints industry, agricultural industry, pharmaceutical industry, and the like. 

Similarly, following the global kaolin market segmentation, kaolin end-users by applications are, among others, paper coating and filling, ceramics, paints and coatings, pesticides, medicines and cosmetics, and more.

Related: Discovering the Versatile of Kaolin Uses in Various Industries

Where is Kaolin Mostly Found in South Korea?

Going back to the Joseon Dynasty in South Korea, the Royal porcelain in the late 17th century only used white clays found and mined in particular regions of the Korean Peninsula. They included the provinces of Hamgyeong, Gangwon, Chungcheong, and Gyeongsangnam.

The old manuscripts described that the white clays of Yanggu (Gangwon Province) were mainly composed of quartz and mica. Meanwhile, the white clays of Jinju and Gonyang (Gyeongsangnam Province) had the composition of kaolin, quarts, and oxide impurities in a small amount. 

South Korea is among the prominent kaolin producers in the Asia-Pacific region, along with India, Indonesia, and Thailand. This white clay falls under the non-metallic mineral in the South Korean mining sector, where their deposits and quarries can be found nationwide. This includes, among others, Hadong and Danseong (Sanchong) regions. 

What’s the Prospect of Kaolin in South Korea?

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The kaolin prospect based on region, the Asia-Pacific market is projected to reach improving growth. It can be ascribed primarily to the relatively large number of kaolin deposits in each country in this region, including the kaolin reserves in South Korea.  

Another driving factor for the kaolin market dynamics is the increasing demand for kaolin in the paper industry as coating agents, where Asia-Pacific has several countries as top paper manufacturers. 

The steady expansion of the ceramics industry is the next driver for the increase in kaolin consumption over the last few years. The increasing adoption of ceramic-based products for household items has been the response to improved urbanization and construction projects worldwide. 

Also, don’t forget the emerging trends of kaolin applications for more diverse end-user industries like fiberglass, plastic, additive agents, pharmaceutical, or cosmetics products. 

Considering the above prospects of kaolin in South Korea for the coming years, having enough supplies to fulfill domestic demands can be crucial. Having a trusted partnership with a leading regional kaolin supplier that offers high-quality kaolin products might be one of the most strategic decisions.