The market for limestone blocks in Portugal is quite mature, representing a good % of the overall limestone market. Since the start of a growing demand of beige limestone blocks from China that the blocks market has grown exponentially and is today one of the most important sectors in the stone export industry in the country.
With the growing market demand in China for Portuguese limestones, Chinese companies started acquiring quarries and having a preferential position with most Portuguese-owned quarries.
Currently, the growth has stabilized because of similar alternative limestones in Turkey, Croatia and other places, but nonetheless, demand is solid not just for beige limestone but also for other colored ones.
The most popular limestones are by far Moca Cream, Moleanos and Fatima. These three limestones are the market leaders mostly due to Chinese demand, which has a preferred taste for light beige colored limestones.
China is the key market for the export of Portuguese limestone blocks, with a dominant position. In this system, blocks are bought in large numbers, whereas the remaining blocks are sold to local manufacturers, bringing overall price of blocks to higher levels.
There is also relevant demand from places like Italy or Turkey, which are manufacturing power-houses for finished product to supply projects in places like the Middle East.