Activated carbon producers seek gov’t help

Philexport News and Features (The Philippine Star) - September 9, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Activated carbon producers in the Philippines are seeking the government’s help in mining the relatively untapped export potential of their commodity, as world demand is expected to increase by more than 10 percent annually to 1.9 million metric tons by 2016.

Global demand has been steadily growing for activated carbon, which is essentially treated charcoal used for various industrial purposes, including air and water purification, deodorization, precious metals recovery, and pharmaceuticals, said Bonifacio Fernandez Jr. of BF Industries and Philips Carbon in Mindanao.

In a recent industry briefing, Fernandez said world demand rose from 644,000 metric tons in 2001 to almost 1.2 million metric tons in 2011 and is forecast to rise to 2.7 million metric tons by 2021.

Demand from Asia reached 464,000 metric tons in 2011 and is seen to jump to 750,000 metric tons in 2016 and 1.1 million metric tons in 2021.

On the other hand, North American demand in 2011 totaled 325,000 metric tons, and is forecast to expand to 642,000 metric tons in 2016 and 912,000 metric tons in 2021.

Europe, Africa, and other regions together purchased 391,000 metric tons of the product two years ago, and are seen to need 538,000 metric tons and 738,000 metric tons in 2016 and 2021, respectively.

But Fernandez said the industry’s sunny future is being undermined by foreign competition, illegal trade practices, and other problems that hinder development.

He noted how foreign companies have expanded their operations in Mindanao, moving from buyer to competitor of domestic manufacturers for market and raw material supply.

Another major headache for local active carbon makers and exporters is the export of charcoal and granulated charcoal to countries like China, Korea, and Taiwan, where they are converted into activated carbon.

Fernandez likewise lambasted the illegal practice of misdeclaring charcoal or granulated charcoal as activated carbon, which can result in spontaneous combustion during transit. This has caused shipping companies to reject even legitimate activated carbon shipments.

Calling for a ban on the overseas shipment of these raw materials, Fernandez said the Philippines is missing the opportunity to be a major supplier of activated carbon in the world market.

ACTIVATED BONIFACIO FERNANDEZ JR. BUT FERNANDEZ CARBON CHARCOAL FERNANDEZ INDUSTRIES AND PHILIPS CARBON METRIC MINDANAO NORTH AMERICAN TONS
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