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TiO2/Zircon

Latest News

  • Output up, profits down for China coatings industry in H1

    Monday, 18 September 2017

    The rising cost of raw materials such as TiO2 decreased profits at coatings companies in China in H1, according to the China Coating Association.

  • Price briefing 8 - 14 September

    Friday, 15 September 2017

    Lithium carbonate prices jump on proposed ICE ban in China; European refractory silicon carbide market posts uptick; Chinese magnesia market continues to surge; Ilmenite price spreads widen amid uncertainty; Zircon prices rise after Iluka announces hikes; China TiO2 producers announce more price hikes; Two of the largest rare earth producers increase prices for light rare earth elements in September.

  • China TiO2 producers announce more price hikes

    Friday, 15 September 2017

    Chinese producers have announced another wave of domestic price hikes in recent weeks, the 7th round of announcements so far in 2017.

  • Ilmenite price spreads widen amid uncertainty

    Thursday, 14 September 2017

    While supply constraints in China allowed some to achieve higher prices a more general market weakness was reported by others in the lead up to the next round of buying.

More from Latest News

Pricing News

  • Price briefing 8 - 14 September

    Friday, 15 September 2017

    Lithium carbonate prices jump on proposed ICE ban in China; European refractory silicon carbide market posts uptick; Chinese magnesia market continues to surge; Ilmenite price spreads widen amid uncertainty; Zircon prices rise after Iluka announces hikes; China TiO2 producers announce more price hikes; Two of the largest rare earth producers increase prices for light rare earth elements in September.

  • China TiO2 producers announce more price hikes

    Friday, 15 September 2017

    Chinese producers have announced another wave of domestic price hikes in recent weeks, the 7th round of announcements so far in 2017.

  • Ilmenite price spreads widen amid uncertainty

    Thursday, 14 September 2017

    While supply constraints in China allowed some to achieve higher prices a more general market weakness was reported by others in the lead up to the next round of buying.

  • Zircon prices rise after Iluka announces hikes

    Thursday, 14 September 2017

    Recent price increases from Iluka and Rio Tinto have led to higher spot prices amid a slight squeeze in supply.

More from Pricing News

Features

  • US exiting Paris Treaty not expected to impact minerals sector

    Friday, 07 July 2017

    In the wake of President Trump’s announcement that the US will be pulling out of the 2015 Paris Climate Treaty, IM looks at the significance of this move and the possible impact this will have on the industrial minerals market. By Mark Rowe

  • TiO2 feedstocks turn a corner

    Wednesday, 22 February 2017

    A rebound in titanium dioxide prices and demand has paved the way for positive momentum in the mineral sands sector. Kasia Patel, North American Editor, and Cameron Perks, IM Correspondent, look at current industry trends and planned new projects in the sector.

  • 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.

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.

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.