The ceramic tiles and sanitaryware industry has asked the Government to ban export of feldspar and quartz.

Feldspar and quartz are critical minerals used as raw materials in the manufacturing of ceramic tiles and sanitary ware.

Due to globalisation and new ventures, the demand for these two minerals has increased, the Board of Indian Council of Ceramic Tiles and Sanitaryware said in a statement.

However, a surge in exports of these items is leading to a shortage locally, it said.

Undersupply of quartz has caused a steady rise in its prices and is leading to uncertainties in long-term strategies of the domestic sector, it said. The industry body has decided to intensify its dialogue with the concerned Government bodies on the issue of export ban, the statement added.

The industry body Chairman, Mr Sreekant Somany, said, “Depletion of these raw materials will force domestic industries to rely heavily on imports. This will result in further escalation of input costs thereby making tiles and sanitary ware expensive for the end-user.”

“It may also force many ceramic tile and sanitary ware manufacturers to shut down, resulting in loss of employment and a poor return on investments,” he said.

The annual production of feldspar crossed 10 lakh tonnes in FY10 from a mere 4.6 lakh tonnes in FY08.

During the year, feldspar exports were 3.42 lakh tonnes (accounting for over 30 per cent of the production). Quartz exports went up substantially from 1.16 lakh tonnes in FY08 to 2.05 lakh tonnes in FY11.

“Such huge exports of the raw material could cause a rapid depletion of the natural resource for domestic industry's consumption, in turn creating panic amongst them,” the industry body said.

The ceramic industry accounts for 84 per cent of its domestic consumption of feldspar and is the largest consumer of quartz in India.