MINERALSANDS

High Land complex Rocks are the main source for heavy mineral sand accumulation on beaches around the country. Due to weathering and erosion processes, individual mineral grains of these rocks get disintegrated and transported along the streams and rivers, finally reaching the sea. Due to Combine action of ocean currents, sea waves and wind, the heavy mineral sands get deposited along the beaches. Pulmudai beach mineral and sand deposit is a placer deposit formed most usually with the beach environments, specific gravity and size of mineral grains.

The mineral sand industry consists of two core product;

  1. Titanium minerals (also referred to as titanium feedstock or Ti02 feedstock )
  2. Zircon (Zr02 feedstock )

Titanium minerals (ilmenite and rutile) are generally far more prevalent in mineral sand ore bodies than zircon. The titanium dioxide (Ti02) content of the various titanium minerals varies noticeably from 45% to 95%’it is the Ti02 content which mainly determines the value of the product. Synthetic Rutile (SR) and titanium slag are beneficiated products derived from ilmenite. The indicative Ti02 content of the main titanium products is shown below;

  • Rutile (naturally occurring) - 92%-95%
  • Upgraded slag -91%-95%
  • Synthetic Rutile -85%-94%
  • Titanium Slag -75%-85%
  • Ilmenite (naturally occurring) - 35%-65%
Ilmenite Sand Mica Rutile Sand Zircon Sand
Titanium

In 2009, the global titanium minerals market was estimated at approximately 5.4 Million tons of Ti02 unit .Pigment is by far the largest consumer of titanium minerals with an estimated total world pigment production of approximately 4.4million tons of Ti02 units. Titanium minerals demand of the world is mostly supplied by Australia and South African countries.

Titanium minerals are the principal feedstock for pigment production. A pigment is material that changes the color reflected or transmit light to a color that the pigment is anticipated to provide. This will emit light and absorb certain wavelengths of light. Pigments are used for colouring paint, ink, plastic, fabric, cosmetics, food and other materials. Most of the pigments are used in manufacturing and the visual arts are dry colorants usually ground in to a fine powder. The global demand for pigments is approximately USD 20.5billion in2009 and will increase to USD24.5billion in 2015 and USD27.5billion in 2018 based on the Mineral Market Intelligence Report.

Historically, demand for titanium minerals and zircon has displayed, growth characteristics relating to Gross Domestic Production (GDP) of a country. Consequently, increasing demand for mineral sand products from developing countries has become increasingly evident over recent years. Titanium minerals and zircon constitute a relatively secure input source to range of industrial and end-consumer applications.


Pigment is produced by one of the two processes
  1. Sulphate process - which involves the digestion of Ti02 feed-stock in sulphuric acid and then a process of desolvation hydrolysis, filtration and calcinations
  2. Chloride process - which involves the chlorination of Ti02 feed-stock and then a process of purification and oxidation.

Approximately, 60% of pigment is produced by the chloride process and 40% by the sulphate process.

The chloride process typically produces a higher grade pigment, with higher grade Ti02 feedstock required for this process. Titanium pigments are pure white, highly refractive, ultra-violet-absorbing, non-toxic and inert. They are used in a wide and growing range of products: protective coatings, such as house, car paints and sunscreens, as well as in plastics, paper and textiles. Titanium pigments are also increasingly used in range of foodstuffs, medicine and cosmetics.

Titanium minerals also act as a fluxing agent in welding electrodes that are used extensively in shipbuilding and fabrication. Titanium minerals are also used for the production of titanium sponge, used in the manufacture of titanium metal. The combination of strength and lightness of titanium metal makes it an ideal material for advanced engineering applications, particularly in the aerospace industry and in a range of other applications, including sports equipment and jewellery.

Titanium

Global zircon consumption in 2009 was an estimated 1.0 million tons of zircon product. Over 50% of zircon is used in the production of ceramics, including tiles, sanitary ware and tableware. Zircon is also used in refractories and foundry applications, such as for the casting of jet turbine blades. In addition, it is the source material for zirconia and a wide range of zirconium-based chemicals. These products are used in a multitude of high-tech industrial applications, including auto-catalysts, fuel cell technology, electronics and abrasives.