Inorganic chemicals are used throughout the chemical universe - from ultra high purity silica for semiconductors, through mined industrial minerals used in industry or the construction trades. Common inorganic chemicals are often metal oxides, carbonates, halides, nitrates, nitrides, sulfides, phosphates, and sulfates. They can also be pure elements, such as gold, copper or iron. Organometallic compounds are also often considered inorganic chemicals.
Specific examples of industrial inorganic chemicals include silica, ammonium nitrate fertilizer, titanium dioxide pigment, metallic catalysts, and reagents for organic chemistry. The most common and important industrial inorganic chemicals include ammonia, ammonia salts, carbon black, chlorine, sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid. There are also many specialty, small volume products for use in electronics, aerospace, energy and other demanding applications that often command high valuations.
Industrial minerals are generally inorganic chemicals found in nature. Aluminosilicate clays are one example, as are silica sands, bauxite, gypsum and rare earth minerals.
Grace Matthews recognizes that industrial minerals can be significantly different businesses than are specialty chemicals and intermediate petrochemicals. Most industrial minerals are produced by mining mineral deposits. Mineral processing mostly means separating and purifying, versus “cracking” a petrochemical, organic synthesis via a multi step reaction series, or formulating a paint. Understanding the competitive landscape, competitive technologies and the reserve status are all important factors in industrial minerals transactions.