Now fully updated, Roskill’s Titanium Minerals: Global Industry Markets and Outlook report brings you the very latest data and analysis in this sector, critical for titanium dioxide pigment production—the white pigment—as well as titanium metal.
Titanium minerals or titaniferous (TiO2-containing) feedstocks are principally driven by demand for titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment which is used in applications such as paint, plastics, paper and inks amongst others. In 2015 the TiO2 pigment market accounted for 83% of titanium mineral demand, while other end-uses include titanium metal, abrasive, welding rods and metallurgical fluxes.
There has been a changing landscape for titanium minerals supply over the last five years, with a significant rise in production of ilmenite in China to feed its domestic sulphate route TiO2pigment manufacture. Elsewhere new sources of supply have some on stream which have shifted traditional trade patterns.
The five largest titanium minerals suppliers control nearly half of global feedstock production and include Cristal, Iluka, Rio Tinto, TiZir, and Tronox. Since a shortfall in supply in 2011 and subsequent price spike, producers have since faced mounting inventories. From 2013, major producers including Rio Tinto and Iluka, and others have curtailed production, but the overall supply deficit has been outweighed by a substantial supply surplus of ilmenite which has dampened prices.
Looking out to 2025, there are expansion plans from existing producers as well as new projects are in the pipeline, although some will face headwinds in the current economic climate. Chinese producers are actively investigating overseas resources to supplement supply and it is likely that exports to China will rise again in the medium term.
There have also been a significant number of mergers and acquisitions in the TiO2 pigment industry, as well as capacity expansions in China, and latterly rationalisation in the form of plant closures, which are reshaping the industry. The paint industry remains the most important market for TiO2 pigment, accounting for 55% of consumption in 2015. Meanwhile, the paper industry remains important but consumption has shifted into specific sectors such as coated folding boxboard and décor paper for decorative laminates.
The titanium minerals industry is evolving to supply TiO2 pigment production, will which will shift further towards using more chloride route production over the next ten years. The underlying growth rates for TiO2 pigment and titanium metal will ensure continued demand for titanium minerals.