Large number of boron containing oxyanions is usually termed as borates. The term is sometimes referred to tetrahedral boron anions. In natural state, boron occurs as borates in forms of boronsilicates and borate minerals. Borates are used in wide range of applications. The versatility of the borate compounds stems from the unique structural and bonding characteristic of borates. Borates are one of the essential ingredients for living things, while it also important in various industrial applications.
Borates are an essential material for higher plants and these chemicals are extensively used in agriculture for improving the crop quality and crop yield. Borates also find applications in the formulations of certain insecticides. It can inhibit the growth of fungi and bacteria and is extensively used for improving the durability of wood based construction products. Borates protect the wood by destroying wood damaging insects. Some forms of borates are used to produce industrial or household cleaners, laundry detergents, and personal care products. Borates are also used in the glass-forming applications, where it modifies the structure of the glass and makes it chemical and heat resistant. Borates also find applications in ceramic glazes, specialty glasses and durable fiberglass. Borate glasses form one of the most important components of modern day display panels of computers, televisions, mobiles and various other devices. Another important application for borates includes its use for nuclear shielding. Borates have a unique ability of absorbing radiations and therefore are utilized in shielding safety and control of nuclear reactors employed in medical therapeutics. Applications such as electronic displays and agriculture are expected to drive the demand for borates across the globe. The use of borates as fertilizer and pesticide is expected to be one of the major driving factors for borate market in the next few years. Growing population particularly in Asia Pacific is anticipated to further increase the demand for agricultural products. This in turn is expected to drive the demand for borates in this region, in the near future. Borates are used in display panels of televisions, mobiles and other electronic displays. The recent growth in electrical and electronic industry globally is projected to further augment the demand for boron in the next few years. Looking forward, the demand for borate from the wood industry is also anticipated to show strong growth. Borate inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi and increases the durability of wood products.
In terms of demand, Asia Pacific was the largest market for borate, followed by North America, Europe and Latin America. Asia Pacific was the major consumer of borate, globally. Asia Pacific is home to several electric and electronic companies as well as agriculture products and hence, the demand for borate is anticipated to be high in this region. The major borate markets in North America were U.S and Canada. In Europe, some of the major markets for borate include Germany, Italy, France and U.K amongst others. In Asia Pacific, China accounted for the largest demand for borate followed by India, Japan, Indonesia etc. There has been a growing demand for borate and its products especially from countries of Asia Pacific such as China and India. With further economic development and growth in electronics industry in these regions is expected to further propel the demand for borate in the near future.
Some of the major companies operating in the global borate market are Borax (a member of Rio Tinto group) and American Borate Company among others.