TZMI 18: What we learned
Published: Thursday, 20 December 2018
Key takeaways from independent consultant TZMI’s 2018 congress held on November 12-14 in Singapore.
Supply security is a concern for the entire supply
Reliable and consistent supply of zirconium and titanium
minerals remains a primary concern for pigment, welding and
ceramic end-users. End-use customers are increasingly
interested in new mining projects that span all heavy
Prices for premium zircon sand are expected to
Most market participants spoken to by Fastmarkets believe
that prices for premium zircon sand will continue at high
levels in Europe and in China for the next two quarters. A
combination of supply tightness and strong end-market demand
were seen to be supporting this price scenario. The same
cannot be said for standard-grade zircon sand, which is
well-supplied into the Chinese market.
Prices for rutile expected to increase
Most market participants told Fastmarkets that they expected
rutile prices, both bulk and bagged, to increase in the
coming quarter. Particularly tight supplies were the primary
driver. It has been confirmed that some pigment producers are
looking to synthetic rutile to replace some of their natural
rutile feedstock and welding end-users have begun to blend
rutile with ilmenite. It is unclear how these trends will
affect pricing, considering that natural rutile has many
advantages over lower-titanium feedstocks in both welding and
in pigment processing.
Ilmenite demand is strengthening in
Concerns that coatings producers held large stockpiles of
titanium dioxide pigment in China seem to be unfounded,
meaning that sulfate ilmenite demand in the coming quarters
will be strong, according to many market participants.
Sulfate route pigment producers may also find increasing
levels of competition from chloride slag producers, which are
seeking larger volumes of ilmenite for their own needs.