Microcline (KAlSi3O8) is the low-temperature pure potassium end member of the alkali feldspar group. It is polymorphous with sanidine and orthoclase. These three minerals form the potassium- rich feldspar are almost identical in physical properties.
It is sometimes impossible to distinguish between them without x-ray analysis. The only difference between them is their crystal structure. Microcline crystallizes in the triclinic system and orthoclase and sanidine crystallize in the monoclinic system.
The microcline market can be segmented based on classification, application, and region. Based on classification, the microcline market can be segmented into glass grade, ceramic body grade, and glaze grade. In terms of application, the microcline market can be classified into glass, ceramics, and fillers. Microcline is industrially important in the manufacture of glass and ceramics. Well-shaped crystals, especially those of amazonite, a variety of microcline, are valued by mineral collectors.
Amazonite is also used as a gemstone and is polished into beads, cabochons, and ornaments. Microcline is used as an ornamental stone; in the manufacture of glass, enamel, and porcelain products; and as a mineral specimen. Albite, or soda spar as it is known commercially, is used in ceramics. Microcline is used mainly in the manufacture of porcelain. It is ground very fine and mixed with kaolin and quartz. Upon heating, the feldspar fuses and acts as a cement binding the materials together. Fused feldspar is also the main constituent in the glaze on porcelain.
Based on region, microcline market can be segmented into North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Middle East & Africa. North America accounted for a major share of the microcline market in 2017. Europe also constituted key market share due to the large reserves of microcline found in Russia.
Microcline deposits are also found in Norway, Italy, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Namibia, India, Brazil, Russia, Australia, the U.S., and Canada. Amazonite is mainly found in the U.S. (California, Colorado, Montana, Pennsylvania, Virgina-Amelia County), Canada (Quebec-Kipawa and Ontario-Renfrew and Parry Sound districts), Brazil, India (Kashmir), Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar (Andina, Anjanabonoina, Mahabe, and Immody), Namibia, and South Africa. However, Russia has the biggest gem amazonite deposits in the world. They are located at Ploskaya Gora and Parus Mountain near Lovozero, Kola Peninsula.
Key players operating in the global microcline market include Adinath Industries, Asia Mineral Processing Co. Ltd., CVC Mining Company, Eczacibasi Esan, El Waha Mining & Fertilizers, Gimpex Ltd., Gottfried Feldspat GmbH, GP Minerals, Imerys Minerals Ltd., and I - Minerals, Inc.
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