Lomon Billions plans 700,000 tpy of new TiO2 capacity

Published: Thursday, 14 December 2017

Lomon Billions has plans to double its capacity to 1.3 million tpy and secure its own feedstocks following a Chinese policy change that encourages new chloride route processing.

Chinese titanium dioxide (TiO2) producer Lomon Billions plans to more than double its capacity, largely through the addition of greenfield chloride capacity in China.

The plans were laid out by Bruce Griffin, Lomon’s senior vice president of strategic development, at the TZMI conference in Hong Kong held November 13-15. The company is targeting an increased total capacity of around 1.3 million tonnes, compared to its current capacity of over 600,000 tonnes per year.

Speaking to Industrial Minerals at the conference, Griffin said that although there was not a fixed schedule for the capacity upgrades, they are expected to be completed by 2030.

The capacity additions would consist of around 500,000 tonnes of greenfield chloride production, with the remaining increases driven by upgrades to its existing chloride and sulphate footprints, Griffin said.

Chinese policy makes the addition of new sulphate route greenfield capacity difficult, but also encourages the development of chloride route capacity, which is seen as less polluting.

The company will focus on securing feedstock for the chloride route plants, which can include high-grade ilmenite, rutile, or chloride slag, Griffin told the conference.

Lomon is currently expanding as part of its overall growth strategy.

Industrial Minerals last assessed the titanium dioxide pigment, high quality, bulk volume, cfr Asia price at $2,700-3,100 per tonne on November 9 flat from July 27.

The presentation, made on November 14, came shortly after Lomon announced the temporary reduction of its capacity in China, to comply with existing Chinese pollution regulations.

Lomon will be reducing sulphate production at its Jiazuo plant by 30% between November 15 and March 15, to comply with autumn and winter air pollution controls imposed by the Chinese government.

Lomon also implemented a planned shutdown of its sulphate TiO2 pigment production site in Deyang for maintenance, effective from November 12, for 15 to 25 days.

These closures are expected to reduce the company’s overall production capacity by 35,000 tonnes to 39,000 tonnes, which it warned "may impact its product price".

"[The closures] are unlikely to affect [the company’s] annual operating target for 2017," the company said in a statement.