The zircon sand supply sector represents an approximately US$1.7 billion per annum industry. The product is then supplied to end-user markets generating annual revenue value that is many multiples of this.
Zircon is a zirconium mineral produced as a co-product of titanium minerals mining. It is an important raw material for the ceramics industry as an opacifier and frit compound for decorative wall and floor tiles and sanitary-ware.
The ceramics sector accounts for ~52% of global zircon consumption. An additional 27% of global zircon production is consumed in the foundry and refractory industries, where its properties of resistance to high temperature and corrosion, and good thermal shock resistance, make it suitable for these end-use markets. Zircon is also becoming increasingly consumed in a growing number of chemical applications, which include fused and chemical zirconia.