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TiO2/Zircon

Latest News

  • Chinese titanium industry sees positive growth in H1

    Tuesday, 27 September 2016

    Figures presented by China's Nonferrous Industry Association at the 25th China Western Goods Trade Fair show increasing output and higher prices for titanium products in China including titanium slag and ilmenite.

  • Lanxess to acquire Chemtura

    Tuesday, 27 September 2016

    The deal will expand the German chemicals producer’s reach in North America and create a significant player in the additives business.

  • Tecnargilla ’16: Demand for secondary raw materials exceeds supply

    Monday, 26 September 2016

    Producers have been increasingly considering switching part of their mineral raw material needs from primary to secondary, or recycled, materials which carry lower costs, but limited availability means the segment remains undersupplied.

  • Sibelco to restructure mineral sand mine

    Friday, 23 September 2016

    The company is to restructure the Stradbroke Island mineral sand operation as mining in the area is brought to an end.

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Pricing News

  • Rutile and ilmenite prices increase

    Friday, 16 September 2016

    Increased activity in titanium dioxide and tighter supply from China is edging up mineral sands prices.

  • Cristal Global joins TiO2 majors in price hikes

    Tuesday, 30 August 2016

    As demand and activity picks up in the titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment sector, producers are following suit in upping their prices.

  • TiO2 producers push for 10th price hike

    Friday, 26 August 2016

    Chinese producers have announced another price hike, the tenth this year, citing the rising cost of raw materials as well as stronger supply/demand fundamentals.

  • Price briefing 19-25 August 2016

    Friday, 26 August 2016

    Trading remains quiet in iodine and graphite as prices edge down further, while some fused alumina production is resuming in China following weeks of shutdown. Market activities are expected to increase in the coming weeks as the European holiday season comes to an end.

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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.