The fifth most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, and an important input material for steelmaking, alloying and metallurgy.

Calcium (Ca)

Calcium is the fifth most abundant element by mass in the Earth’s crust and the third most abundant metal after iron and aluminium.

As a highly reactive metal and reducing agent, calcium is rarely found in its pure metallic form. Demand for calcium metal is dominated by the steelmaking, alloying and refining industries.

The main feedstock for calcium production – limestone – is widespread in nature, yet only three countries in the world produce calcium metal. China is by far the largest producer, followed by Russia and the United States.

Limestone mining in China and Russia is reportedly associated with significant environmental degradation, impacts on local communities and social discord. However, calcium production is only a tiny fraction of the overall use of limestone, which is also a key feedstock for the cement and concrete industries, among others. Calcium purchasers may benefit from forming partnerships with other industries in order to increase leverage on their supply chains, to support positive environmental and social change in limestone production.

Main Uses and Attributes

Calcium is a soft silvery-white metal that acts as a powerful reducing agent, reacting strongly with oxygen in a range of oxide compounds, and water. As such, calcium in its elemental form is rarely encountered in everyday life.

A major use of calcium metal is in steelmaking. Calcium is added to molten steel, as cored wire, to reduce the oxygen and sulphur content of the steel during the production of high purity steel.8 9

Another important use of calcium is in the removal of bismuth impurities from lead during smelting. 10

Calcium metal is also used as an alloying agent for other metals such as aluminium, beryllium, copper, lead and magnesium.11 Alloyed with lead, calcium is used in the manufacturing of lead-acid batteries.12 When alloyed with aluminium, it is commonly used to strengthen aluminium alloys for bearings.13 Calcium metal is used as a reducing agent in the preparation of some metals, including thorium and uranium.14

Main Uses

  • Batteries
  • Chemicals
  • Metal Alloys
  • Metallurgy
  • Steel

Key Industries

  • Automotive
  • Chemical
  • Metal Alloying
  • Steel Making

Key Countries

Top Producer China

Supply Chain Risk

TDi assesses Calcium for key risks affecting the security of supply, and for its association with artisanal and small-scale mining.

Overall Supply Chain Resilience Risk
Strength of Association with ASM
Very Low Moderate Very High

Country Governance Risks

Calcium's association with countries experiencing:

Violence and Conflict
Weak Rule of Law
Poor Human Rights
Poor Environmental Governance
Very Low Moderate Very High

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