This has resulted in stricter environmental regulations at coal-fired stations' increased output of flue gas desuphurisation (FGD) gypsum.
The high cost of environmental measures and resistance to accumulation of waste motivated the power companies to seek to ease these issues by selling their usable waste products.
The financial crisis that caused output and revenues of the plasterboard industry to plummet also motivated producers to reduce costs. FGD gypsum was not only cheaper, but tended to be produced adjacent to cities, the main markets for plasterboard and plaster.
This supply of high purity FGD gypsum is also attractive to cement companies, as it is generally cheaper to use than natural gypsum.
Despite declining cement sales in 2008, Roskill, specialists in metals and minerals reports, estimated that sales of FGD gypsum were maintained at 2007 levels, reflecting competitive pricing and widespread availability.
Full recovery from the global financial crisis and associated recession will see a further surge in cement production in the next two to three years.