Open/Close Mobile Menu Open/Close Mobile Menu


Latest News

  • TiO2 World Summit 2015: “Change is coming sooner rather than later"

    Thursday, 08 October 2015

    Delegates and speakers at the TiO2 World Summit in Prague agreed that big changes in the titanium dioxide industry are imminent, but continued investment would be need to sustain and increase production as the quality of new ore bodies declines.

  • TiO2 World Summit 2015: “Suppliers listen but they don’t hear”

    Thursday, 08 October 2015

    While regular suppliers tend to merely meet demand, the best providers of pigment material will always work with their supply chain to ensure innovations occur and markets are correctly understood, delegates attending the TiO2 World Summit in Prague, Czech Republic, were told.

  • Orbite fly ash recycling patent gets go ahead in US

    Tuesday, 06 October 2015

    Following approval from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, Orbite’s fly ash processing technology – which proposes to tackle the issue of coal ash waste by recycling it through the extraction of saleable end products – has been deemed allowable in the US.

  • AkzoNobel launches new coil coating line in Mexico

    Friday, 02 October 2015

    The opening of the new coil coating line will supply existing steel producers in Central and South America, as well as enabling AkzoNobel to serve new markets and cut its costs and carbon footprint by discontinuing exports from the US to Mexico. The line represents a doubling of coil coating capacity, meaning an increase in consumption of raw materials such as clays, titanium dioxide and iron oxide.

More from Latest News

Pricing News

More from Pricing News


  • TiO2: False bottom

    Saturday, 26 September 2015

    Repeated predictions of a return to health in the titanium dioxide pigments and feedstock industries have so far disappointed market participants. James Sean Dickson, Reporter, examines the industry and considers what might be necessary to bring about a brighter future.

  • Ukraine’s TiO2 industry buckles under pressure

    Saturday, 26 September 2015

    Weakness in the domestic economy, international sanctions against Crimean companies following Russian annexation and poor demand for feedstocks has pushed Ukrainian TiO2 to the edge, Vladislav Vorotnikov, IM Correspondent, discovers.

  • Coatings turn to new products

    Friday, 20 March 2015

    Changes in regulation and customer preference are driving the emergence of exciting new products in the coatings industry, but behind the headlines many producers are concerned about weaknesses in key consuming sectors.

  • Iron oxide: build, or it won’t come

    Friday, 27 February 2015

    Iron oxide pigment demand is benefitting from growth in new markets such as batteries and cosmetics, but the industry’s main demand driver is the construction sector, where consumption has been hurt by weaker economic growth. Kasia Patel, Deputy Editor, takes a look at what construction forecasts might mean for iron oxide and discusses varying preferences for natural and synthetic material.

More from Features

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.


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


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.