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TiO2/Zircon

Latest News

  • Price Briefing 22-29 July 2016

    Friday, 29 July 2016

    Existing inventory in brown fused alumina prevented prices gain amid supply tightness; Chinese TiO2 producers announced eighth price hike; fertiliser prices expected to remain low in 2016 while fluorspar prices held at five-year lows as supply far outstripped demand.

  • Iluka in takeover talks with Sierra Rutile

    Friday, 29 July 2016

    A leak relating to ongoing talks between the two titanium dioxide feedstock producers has led both companies to make public announcements as regards the potential tie up.

  • BASF Q2 sales fall as oil downturn hits prices

    Thursday, 28 July 2016

    The decline in oil and gas prices continued to bite as global chemicals producer BASF noted a 24% decline in sales for the second quarter. However, the company has seen positive activity in its coatings segment, particularly an increase in demand from the automotive market in China.

  • Huntsman income increases; TiO2 prices improve

    Thursday, 28 July 2016

    Although TiO2 prices were still markedly lower than the previous year, Huntsman reported an increase in income as the company has been cost cutting and managing inventory. The company is continuing to prepare to sell its pigment business, however prices saw a slight untick sequentially, it said.

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Pricing News

  • Price Briefing 22-29 July 2016

    Friday, 29 July 2016

    Existing inventory in brown fused alumina prevented prices gain amid supply tightness; Chinese TiO2 producers announced eighth price hike; fertiliser prices expected to remain low in 2016 while fluorspar prices held at five-year lows as supply far outstripped demand.

  • Price Briefing 1-7 July 2016

    Friday, 08 July 2016

    Fluorspar prices fail to rebound due to weak demand; Chinese TiO2 operators signal yet another price hike; bauxite prices slow down amid persistent issues in consumption; Chinese silicon carbide export values point to lower prices; lithium prices see a degree of stabilisation.

  • Price Briefing 17-23 June 2016

    Friday, 24 June 2016

    Future of European markets uncertain as UK votes to leave the EU; fluorspar prices experience further drops; chromite market stabilises; oil price holds barite steady.

  • Price Briefing 10-16 June 2016

    Friday, 17 June 2016

    Lithium market participants point to price exaggeration; doubts cast over China’s TiO2 price hikes; fluorspar prices steady at low levels; decline in graphite continues.

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Features

  • Talk From The Top: What those at the helm make of the last two years in industrial minerals markets

    Saturday, 21 May 2016

    While the majority of industrial mineral market participants are bracing themselves for another tough year, IM spoke to key industry players about adapting to current conditions and seeking out new markets.

  • Supply Security Report: Mineral Sands

    Saturday, 21 May 2016

    Mineral sands industry sentiment has been a mixed bag throughout 2015 and into 2016. Cameron Perks, IM Correspondent, takes a look at the ups and downs of 2015 and asks whether mineral sands markets will register any improvements in 2016.

  • India's mining industry: Challenges and potential

    Saturday, 21 May 2016

    The Indian mining industry is best described as a success story still in the making. Despite holding reserves of 89 different minerals, Shruti Salwan, IM Analyst, examines why growth in the domestic mining industry has been relatively stagnant, failing to reap the benefits of an emerging middle class.

  • Titanium dioxide: Year in Review 2015

    Monday, 21 December 2015

    A roundup of the year's main events in the global TiO2 industry.

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Market Brief

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a white pigment that is a key ingredient of paints, coatings, paper and plastics. For white products, TiO2 is the material of choice as it is the brightest and whitest commercially available pigment.

TiO2 is manufactured from the minerals ilmenite, rutile and, in smaller quantities, leucoxene, which are primarily sourced from mineral sand deposits, but also can be processed from hard rock deposits.

There are two commercially active ways of manufacturing TiO2: the sulphate and chloride routes. Sulphate tends to utilise the lower grade mineral ilmenite, while chloride processing favours higher quality feedstocks such as rutile.

Zircon is an entirely separate mineral and contains no TiO2. It is however commonly tied up with titanium mineral deposits so most producers also sell quantities of zircon. For few it is the primary focus, but for many miners it is a high-value, by-product bonus.

Supply

TiO2 pigment is a mature industry which has been developed by the chemicals industry. While North America and Europe host the majority of plants, new plants under construction in China are starting to readdress this imbalance.

Leading producers include: DuPont, Cristal Global, Huntsman Corp., Kronos Worldwide and Tronox.

In terms of feedstock mineral production, Australia and South Africa are leading producers. Since 2008/09, new African sources have come online in Mozambique and Madagascar.

In terms of tonnages, ilmenite is by far the largest mined TiO2 mineral. On average it has between 52-54% TiO2 content and is purchased, in the main, by those that manufacturer sulphate TiO2.

Rutile has almost double the TiO2 content at 92-95% TiO2 but is less abundant than ilmenite. The biggest commercially active sources are in Australia and Sierra Leone.

Leading producers of TiO2 minerals include: Iluka Resources (Australia), Exxaro Resources (South Africa), Rio Tinto (Australia), Kenmare Resources (Ireland/Mozambique), Bemax Resources (Australia), Consolidated Rutile (Australia) and Titanium Resources Group (UK/Sierra Leone).

Zircon is commonly tied up with titanium mineral sand deposits but has very different market applications. It is almost double the US dollar value of rutile.

Most of producers of titanium minerals from sand have zircon by-production but the focus on this high-value production is increasing in line with demand driven by China.

Chloride route: 55%

Sulphate route: 45%

Global capacity (tonnes): 5.6m. tpa

Markets 

The largest market is TiO2’s direct use as a white pigment in industrial and household paints and coatings for products such as cars. Significant quantities are also used in plastics and paper where its whiteness is still a primary reason for its use.  

The majority of zircon production finds its way into ceramics, although refractories and foundry sands are also important end uses. In ceramics, China is the biggest influencing factor importing around a third of world supply as it has few zircon sources of its own.