The earth is rich in resources, and the processes involving nature, such as the land, oceans, and lava, can create something beautiful: natural stones.
These natural stones—especially marble, granite, limestone, and slate—are sought by different industries for the construction of buildings and the manufacturing of durable products. So now you will wonder, which countries can you get these stones from?
The main exporters of natural stones in the world are as follows: Brazil, China, India, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey.
This list of leading exporters is not just based on how many natural stones the country has supplied, but also on the quality of the products that it ships.
We will also give an overview of the following:
- country’s ports;
- export destinations and;
- stone products that they are known for.
Brazil, the land that is rich in quartzites and granites, is the first on our list, earning $1 billion worth of natural stone exports in 2022, as per Centrorochas.
Even though the results were 4% less compared to 2021 due to market-related reasons, namely logistical challenges and competition with natural stones, it’s still one of the most substantial suppliers of natural stones and ornamental rocks.
Here are the top exports of Brazil as per 2021 data:
- cut-to-size granite, marble, solid quartz, slate, and steatite
- blocks of granite and quartzite of different ranges
The central countries that acquire these products are China, Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the USA.
On the other hand, the principal Brazilian ports for exporting natural stones are the following:
- Vitória (mainly for slabs and granite blocks)
- Rio de Janeiro (mainly for slate and quartzites)
In 2018, China had about 2,150 mines for 12 types of stones, including marble, granite, limestone, and slate. Despite the fluctuation in trade due to COVID-19 and market competition, the country still thrives in the stone industry.
The principal importers of Chinese natural stones are the USA, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and Vietnam. Countries like Mexico, Thailand, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom are also common destinations for the products.
As for the leading ports of export, we have the following:
Sinodec is located in Xiamen, which is the largest exporting port in China.
India is rich in natural resources, evident in the marble, sandstone, slate, and limestone it supplies to more than 146 countries. From April to November 2021, it exported $39.9 million worth of natural stones.
Like China, the rise of India—especially in marble—is attributed to the quality and affordability compared to the Italian variant. The country is also making its name in the stone industry, and an example is being known for the Indian Green Marble.
Based on the April to November 2021 record, the main exported stones of India are:
- limestone (Tandur Yellow, Black)
India’s top trading partners when it comes to natural stones arranged by worth are the United Kingdom, the USA, Canada, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates.
In terms of ports, India has 45 that are involved in natural stone. However, these are the top 3 exporting ports based on revenue.
- Chennai Sea
Known as the origin of the “best marble in the world,” Italy is, of course, a top natural stone exporter. The 3 popular types of marble which are Carrara, Calacatta, and Statuario are also from Italian quarries like the Carrara Marble Mountains.
In 2021, Italy’s natural stone exports were worth €1.850 billion (in raw and finished products) which include the following:
- stone blocks
The destination countries are mostly America and Europe, including the US, Germany, Switzerland, France, and the United Kingdom. Other nations such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates also acquire a supply of natural stones from Italy.
Regarding ports, there is not much information as to which ports Italy use for their natural stones, except the one for Carrara marble which is Marina di Carrara. However, we listed some of their top ports of export.
- Port of Trieste
- Port of Genoa
- Port of Livorno
- Port of Cagliari
A country abundant in granite, we can already tell its top natural stone export. In Portugal, people use granite in a variety of ways; from exterior surfaces such as pavings, and floor coverings, up to slabs and ornamental rocks.
The natural stone exports of Portugal during the first 9 months of 2022 amounted to about 1.6 million tons, worth over €376 million. Some of its main products throughout the years are:
- granite (unprocessed and processed)
The growth of Portugal’s marble export is interesting, as the value of its marble increased, but the amount being shipped decreased. For granite, however, both the value and amount increased.
France, China, and Spain mainly receive these natural stones. For their main ports of export, we listed Portugal’s major ports below as there are no particular data for stones except for the Port of Leixoes.
- Port of Lisbon
- Port of Aveiro
- Port of Setubal
- Port of Sines
The natural stone business in Spain is mostly operated by families employing only a few people as a technique to maximize profits. Nevertheless, it’s still one of the strongest exporters of mainly the following:
Spain is continuously exerting efforts in the stone industry after being hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, it gained €915 million from raw to semi-finished or processed materials.
Even though there was a drop in importation from certain countries like China, the main countries that imported from Spain made up for the “loss.” These are France, the United Kingdom, the USA, and Germany.
Regarding the top ports of export, the ports of Vigo and Valencia are on the list. Other significant Spanish ports include the following:
- Port of Cartagena
- Port of Huelva
- Port of Bilbao
Turkey is a land of various natural stones, especially marble, and granite; it gained $2.09 billion from its exports in the said industry in 2021.
Even though a part of this worth was due to the clearing up of inventories before stocking up—as a task of traders after the 2020 pandemic—the progress is still evident. The natural stones that Turkey is rich in include:
China, the USA, France, Iraq, and India are some of the countries of destinations for Turkish stones. The other ones are listed below, from Israel down to Spain.
Turkey’s top ports of exports for marble and other natural stones are Mersin and Antalya, but the other essential ports are as follows:
- Safiport Derince
- Socar Terminal (Petlim)
- DP World Yarımca
Natural stones like marble, granite, limestone, and other kinds are sought by different businesses located in different countries. However, only a few countries excel in producing quality ones, which will later become the leading exporters.
Brazil, China, India, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey are the world’s seven leading exporters of natural stone, with each country having its specialty. They also have multiple ports that contribute to their strength in the industry.