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  • Ilmenite
  • Mines Producing Ilmenite

Also Known As : Titanium

Ilmenite can often be distinguished from other iron-titanium oxides and magnetite in altered igneous rocks because of the presence of a white alteration product. The ilmenite being rimmed with leucoxene. It can also be distinguished in reflected light by a pinkish brown tinge. Most of the ilmenite is mined for the production of titanium dioxide. This is a finely ground bright white powder used in the manufacturing of plastics, paper and as a base pigment in paint. Other uses of titanium are as follows:

Aircraft parts
Human artificial joints
Bicycle frames and other sporting equipment
High performance alloys

Titanium That is Obtained From Ilmenite Provides Strength With Light Weight

Titanium is regarded as being particularly valuable as metal parts where extra strength and light weight is required. Most of the world's production being used in the United States and Europe, although there is a growing demand in both China and India. Steel makers use Ilmenite ore as a flux to line blast furnace hearth refractorys and ilmenite sand is commonly used for sandblasting when cleaning die-casting dies.

Two Processes Used to Obtain Titanium From Ilmenite

Pigment grade titanium dioxide is obtained from ilmenite via two processes; a chloride or a sulphate process. The Sulphate process uses facilities that are able to best handle low vanadium ilmenite. The chloride acid process produces a titanium dioxide pigment from upgraded slag, rutile and leucoxene.

Australia is one of the World's Leading Producers of Ilmenite

Australia is one of the world's largest producers of ilmenite followed by South Africa, Canada, Mozambique, India and China. Most of the mineral being recovered from heavy mineral sand ore deposits, although it is also mined from hard rock ilmenite ore sources, with Rio Tinto and Iluka Resources among the worlds leading ilmenite producers.

Ilmenite is Known to Exist on the Moon

Ilmenite has also been discovered in rocks retrieved from the surface of the Moon with the Hubble Space Telescope identifying potentially ilmenite rich locations. These findings have particular importance if a moon base is ever considered as it could provide a source of iron and titanium that could be used in the construction of buildings and for the extraction of oxygen.

The large open cut ilmenite mine is currently being developed in the Roper Region of the Northern Territory by Australian Ilmenite Resources which is planning on exporting over 300,000 tonnes of ilmenite annually to Asia and the United States where it will be used for the production of plastic, paint and paper products. Although Australian Ilmenite Resources has only drilled 10 percent of the area to date, the discovery is already regarded as containing large amounts of high grade ilmenite.

Ilmenite ore mined in Norway, Canada and South Africa is used as titaniferous slag. Anthracite in the form of carbon and energy are added in big electric arc smelting furnaces that converts the ilmenite into slag rich titanium dioxide and molten iron. The iron is then refined further into either pig iron, iron or steel powders, or as continuous cast steel billets.

Australian Mines that produce Ilmenite

Ginkgo ( NSW )

The Ginkgo Mine, in the South West of New South Wales, was the first such mine to start production in the rich heavy mineral sand deposits of the Murray Basin.

Snapper ( NSW )

The Snapper mineral sands mine in the far south west of NSW is a natural extension of the older Ginkgo sand mine 10 kilometres to its north.

Tiwi ( NT )

The final shipment of mineral sand from the Tiwi mine in Northern Territory took place on January 16, 2013. It is currently placed on care and maintenance.

North Stradbroke Island ( QLD )

Sand mining on North Stradbroke Island is scheduled to cease by 2027 when about 80 percent of the area previously mined will become a national park.

Eucla Basin ( SA )

The Eucla Basin Jacinth Ambrosia mineral sands mine in South Australia that is owned by Iluka Resources has the worlds largest assemblage of Zircon.

Douglas Iluka Murray Basin ( VIC )

The Douglas sand mining operation has now ceased and the area fully rehabilitated by the mine owner Iluka.

Kulwin ( VIC )

Located in Kulwin VIC, mining Mineral sands, Rutile, Zircon, Ilmenite

Cooljarloo Exxaro ( WA )

The Cooljarloo mineral sands mine in W.A. produces over 770,000 tonnes of heavy mineral concentrate annually using dry mining and dredging techniques.

Dardanupdoral ( WA )

The Dardanup–Doral mineral sands mine at Picton in Western Australia is owned by Japanese company Iwatani International Corp. through Doral Mineral Sands.

Gwindinup North ( WA )

The Gwindinup North mineral sand mining operation near Bunbury in Western Australia is owned by Saudi Arabian company Cristal Mining Australia Limited.

Port Gregory ( WA )

The Port Gregory garnet mine in Western Australia, that was founded by Target Minerals in humble circumstances 30 years ago, is now an international company.

Naracoopa ( TAS )

Mineral sand mining at Naracoopa on King Island, Tasmania, that has been taking place, on and off, since early in the 1990's is once again in production.

Tutunup South Iluka ( WA )

Although the Tutunup South/Iluka mine had only commenced production in June 2011 it will be made idle in 2013 because of slow sales in mineral sands.

Woornack Rownack Pirro ( VIC )

The Woornack, Rownack, Pirro (WRP) mineral sand mining project got underway in 2012 and is expected to continue for at least three to four years.

Sill 80 Project ( NT )

The SILL 80 ilmenite project in the Northern Territory is valued at $8 billion, it will employ 30 people and produce 300,000 tonnes of ilmenite a year.

Donald ( NSW )

Astron Limited's Donald mineral sands project in the Murray Basin Region of Victoria will become one of the worlds top five zircon producers.rn

Goondicum ( QLD )

The Goondicum mine in Central Queensland is currently closed owing to a fall in the price of ilmenite while the mine was being commissioned in June 2013.

Wim 150 ( VIC )

The WIM 150 mineral sands project, 20 kilometres south east of Horsham, in the Wimmera Region of Victoria, is to be developed by Australian Zircon NL.

Jacinth Ambrosia ( SA )

The Jacinth-Ambrosia mineral sands mine in the Eucla Basin Region of South Australia is the first South Australian mine to operate in a state regional reserve.

Atlas Campaspe ( NSW )

The Atlas-Campaspe heavy minerals sand mining project in far west New South Wales being developed by Cristal Mining has received both state and federal environmental approval.

Dongara ( WA )

The Dongara Titanium Minerals Project in Western Australia is being developed by Tronox, the third largest titanium dioxide pigment producer in the world.

Mindarie ( SA )

The Mindarie Heavy Mineral Sands Project in the Mallee Region of South Australia produces mineral sands for export to China.

Coburn ( WA )

The Coburn Zircon deposit located north of Geraldton in Western Australia has had all necessary approvals granted and is expected to begin production in the near future.

Capel Operations ( WA )

The Capel mineral sands operation in south west Western Australia, that is owned by Iluka Resources Limited, is once again in production after an 18 month layoff.

Thunderbird Project ( WA )

The Dampier mineral sands Thunderbird Project in the Canning Basin region of Western Australia will become one of the largest and best quality heavy sands mines in the world.

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