Clinker capacity in selected countries 2016-2019

Global clinker capacity totaled and estimated 3.7 billion metric tons in 2019, with China accounting for a vast majority of the world’s capacity at two billion metric tons. Likewise, China accounted for over half of the world’s cement production in recent years.

Clinker in the United States

The United States imported some 1.1 million metric tons of clinker for consumption in 2019; however, domestic production of clinker exceeded imports by a large volume. In recent years, updates to cement plants were undertaken in order to improve the plants’ ability to comply with emissions limits imposed by the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for cement plants. However, under NESHAP, some cement kilns may also be shut down or used less and thus, decrease clinker production capacity.

What is the difference between clinker and cement?

Cement is a binding material that hardens to connect building units like stones and brick; it is most often used in construction. Clinker, on the other hand, acts primarily as a building block to produce cement. This is achieved through the grinding of clinker along with the addition of other active ingredients. Clinker is a granular substance with spherical pellets, whereas cement is a fine powdery substance. Cement is then further processed to make concrete and mortar and can be used for waterproofing, filling or sealing gaps, and even as decoration.

Clinker capacity in selected countries from 2016 to 2019 (in million metric tons)*

Other countries (rounded)620717716720
United States**109107103103
Korea, Republic of50505050
Saudia Arabia***757575-
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Release date

February 2020



Survey time period

2016 to 2019

Supplementary notes

* All figures are estimates.

** Includes Puerto Rico.
*** Figure for 2019 was not available.

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Statistics on "Cement industry in the U.S."

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