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TiO2/Zircon

Latest News

  • PPG acquires Chinese automotive refinishes company

    Monday, 23 January 2017

    PPG is continuing to strengthen its presence in automotive refinish coatings in the Asian market through the acquisition of Futian Xinshi in China, which has access to a network of more than 200 distributors.

  • Henan Billions expects TiO2 prices to rise further

    Monday, 23 January 2017

    TiO2 pigment demand is forecast to continue to strengthen in the first half of 2017 as orders during the winter months are higher than average and supply continues to be tight.

  • PPG’s Q4 income buoyed by coatings growth in emerging regions

    Friday, 20 January 2017

    While the company was hit by a number of restructuring charges as it sought to make its business more profitable during 2016, sales were driven by emerging regions, where PPG saw highest volume growth rates for coatings.

  • ESA closes Norway cases over tailings dumping

    Friday, 20 January 2017

    Norway was previously accused of breaching the Water Framework Directive in the EEA Agreement for awarding a permit to Nordic Mining for the disposal of tailings from its rutile operation into the Forde Fjord. However, following a review, the ESA has closed three complaints against the country, finding that no illegal decisions have been made.

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Pricing News

  • Price briefing 30 December - 5 January

    Friday, 06 January 2017

    Graphite market weighs up scrapping of export taxes; China rare earth prices stable for January; alumina and bauxite supply reportedly tight in China; Chinese DBM, CCM export value drops; Chinese TiO2 producers hike prices again.

  • Chemours announces Q1 titanium dioxide price hikes

    Thursday, 15 December 2016

    Following Q1 price hikes by a number of pigment producers, Chemours is the latest to announce planned price increases for TiO2 grades outside of North America in February.

  • Prices

    Thursday, 15 December 2016

    Antimony trioxide prices drop, as do iodine prices; lithium deals for 2017 approach closure; foundry chromite spot market widens; raw material costs lift WFA prices; graphite suppliers talk 2017 contracts; Cristal to increase TiO2 prices; industry concerned over China scrapping magnesia quota.

  • Tronox to push up TiO2 prices

    Friday, 09 December 2016

    Tronox is the latest titanium dioxide producer to push up prices for the pigment mineral starting early next year.

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Features

  • 2016 Year in Review

    Thursday, 15 December 2016

    A round up of the year's main events in major global industrial minerals markets such as lithium, agriminerals, rare earths and titanium dioxide.

  • Nerves of titanium

    Thursday, 27 October 2016

    Although positive demand is beginning to feed through to titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigments and its feedstocks, the supply landscape for the pigment will continue to shift as producers attempt to remain competitive and Chinese supply faces more stringent regulation.

  • 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.

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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.