The mineral sands industry involves two principal product chains.
The first is the supply of titanium feedstocks, predominantly used for the manufacture of titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment, with smaller quantities used for the production of titanium metal and welding electrode fluxes. The second is the supply of zircon sand to a wide range of consuming industries, of which the ceramics sector is the largest consuming end-use market.
Titanium dioxide pigment is used to impart whiteness and opacity in the production of paints, paper, plastic and other products. Titanium feedstock production represents an approximately US$4.5 billion per annum industry and the TiO2 pigment supply chain has annual revenues of over US$15 billion. This industry in turn supplies products to other industries generating annual revenue value many multiples of this.
The zircon sand supply sector represents an approximately US$1.7 billion per annum industry, with this industry in turn also supplying to end-user markets generating annual revenue value many multiples of this.