Ilmenite is one of the naturally occurring, titanium bearing suite of minerals that exist either in hardrock deposits or as alluvial beach sand deposits. Titanium minerals are commonly referred to as titanium feedstocks, with the key titanium feedstocks comprising: ilmenite, rutile and, to a lesser extent, leucoxene. Ilmenite can also be refined (beneficiated) to produce feedstocks with higher titanium dioxide (TiO2) content such as high titania slag and synthetic rutile. Ilmenite is the most plentiful titanium mineral globally however rutile and leucoxene have a much higher TiO2 content and are therefore more valuable.
Titanium is thought of as a metal however the vast majority of titanium feedstocks (~90%) are exported to titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment manufacturers around the globe. TiO2 pigment is then used primarily as an additive in paints, plastics and inks and used in a variety of consumer products in everyday life. Titanium pigment is predominantly added to enhance opacity, brightness and whiteness. When incorporated in applications such as paint and coatings, TiO2 pigment extends the product life by reflecting and absorbing ultraviolet radiation that would otherwise accelerate decomposition. TiO2 is also sought because it enhances the products aesthetic appearance. It is non-toxic and inert to most chemical reagents. There are two different pigment manufacturing routes in use- sulphate route and chloride route. Goondicum ilmenite is an ideal feedstock for the sulphate route process.
Around 5% of titanium minerals are used to produce titanium sponge for the manufacture of titanium metal products which are consumed in aircraft, defence, industrial, medical, and even sporting markets. The remaining 5% goes into the welding industry.
TiO2 is considered a quality of life product with its consumption generally linked to GDP. As GDP per head rises so too does the consumption rate of TiO2 pigment. This is particularly evident in emerging countries such as China where TiO2 demand has increased in line with China’s rapid economic growth during the last two decades.
The quality (and subsequent value) of ilmenite is primarily based on the level of TiO2 it contains: the higher the TiO2 content the greater the value of the ilmenite. However, the level of minor impurities is also critical to determining the final value of the product. Around 12 million tonnes of titanium feedstock is produced annually and Goondicum’s ~180ktpa of ilmenite production will be a genuine top tier quality sulphate ilmenite that is expected to command a premium price in the global market.
Phosphate rock minerals are the only signiﬁcant global resources of phosphorus (P), a primary nutrient along with potassium and nitrogen. Phosphorus, which is present in every living cell, both plant and animal, is the second most widely used fertilizer nutrient after nitrogen and fertilizers account for more than 90 per cent of total phosphate consumption. The balance of phosphate consumption is divided between detergents, animal feed, and specialty applications such as food processing and metal treatment.
Apatite is the most common phosphate mineral, and is the main source of the phosphorous required by plants. The bones and teeth of most animals, including humans, are composed of calcium phosphate, which is the same material as Apatite.
Goondicum apatite contains between 30% – 34% P2O5 and can be further upgraded to 40% P2O5 making it one of the highest P content phosphate rock products in the world. Goondicum apatite also contains very low levels of impurities including cadmium and arsenic making it an ideal feedstock for the manufacture of organic fertilizer. Organic fertilizer is a compelling story which sees the traditional chemical fertilizers replaced by specially manufactured organic products which help re- build the soils microbiology and carbon content leading to production of higher yielding, healthier agri products.
Global phosphate rock production is up to 200 million tonnes per year. Goondicum is anticipated to produce and sell up to 50ktpa of apatite when production restarts.
Goondicum titano-magnetite is a dense iron mineral containing around 58% Fe, 12% TiO2 and 0.5% V2O5. It can potentially be used as a protective refractory lining in blast furnaces, cement additive, high-density concrete, pigment, and soil micronutrient. It also has potential to be sold for its vanadium content.
Feldspar is used as a convenient and relatively cheap source of alumina and alkali in the manufacture of glass and ceramics accounting for 85-90 per cent of the market worldwide. This is mainly in the traditional ceramic industries producing tiles, sanitary ware, etc. and in large-volume commercial glasses, i.e. ﬂat glass used in high-quality glazing in buildings, automobiles, mirrors, etc. and container glass used to form bottles, jars, vials, etc. A limited volume of feldspar is also used in glass ﬁbre and specialty glass.
Filler applications, particularly in specialty paint, represents a potentially high-value and good-growth market for a ﬁnely milled feldspar with zero free silica.
Worldwide feldspathic production comprises 12 to 13 million tonnes per year of feldspar from more than 50 countries.
Goondicum feldspar’s chemical and physical characteristics, including its high alumina and zero free silica content, makes it technically viable as a feedstock in glass and frits and glazes, and as a functional ﬁller.