Investing in Titanium

Titanium is widely used in the aerospace industry where it is valued for its high strength-to-weight ratio and resistance to corrosion.

Domestic Production and Use: Two firms produced ilmenite and rutile concentrates from surface-mining operations in Florida and Virginia. The value of titanium mineral concentrates consumed in the United States in 2010 was about $470 million. Zircon was a coproduct of mining from ilmenite and rutile deposits. About 94% of titanium mineral concentrates was consumed by domestic titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment producers. The remaining 6% was used in welding rod coatings and for manufacturing carbides, chemicals, and metal.

Titanium sponge metal was produced by four operations in Nevada, Oregon, and Utah. Ingot was produced by 10 operations in 8 States. Numerous firms consumed ingot to produce wrought products and castings. In 2010, an estimated 75% of the titanium metal was used in aerospace applications. The remaining 25% was used in armor, chemical processing, marine, medical, power generation, sporting goods, and other nonaerospace applications. The value of sponge metal consumed was about $339 million, assuming an average selling price of $11.38 per kilogram.

In 2010, titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment, which was valued at about $3.0 billion, was produced by four companies at six facilities in five States. The estimated use of TiO2 pigment by end use was paint (includes lacquers and varnishes), 59%; plastic, 26%; paper, 9%; and other, 6%. Other uses of TiO2 included catalysts, ceramics, coated fabrics and textiles, floor coverings, printing ink, and roofing granules.

Recycling: New scrap metal recycled by the titanium industry totaled about 29,000 tons in 2010. Estimated use of titanium as scrap and ferrotitanium by the steel industry was about 10,000 tons; by the superalloy industry, 1,000 tons; and in other industries, 1,000 tons. Old scrap reclaimed totaled about 1,000 tons.

Import Sources (2006–09): Mineral concentrate: South Africa, 49%; Australia, 29%; Canada, 14%; Mozambique, 3%; and other, 5%. Sponge metal: Kazakhstan, 52%; Japan, 33%; Ukraine, 5%; Russia, 4%; and other, 6%. Titanium dioxide pigment: Canada, 38%; China, 13%; Germany, 7%; Finland, 6%; and other, 36%.

Events, Trends, and Issues: Consumption of titanium mineral concentrates is tied to consumption of TiO2 pigments primarily used in paint, paper, and plastics. Owing to increased production of TiO2 pigment, domestic consumption of titanium mineral concentrates was estimated to have increased by 10% in 2010 compared with that in 2009. One of the two U.S. mineral producers acquired land that will extend mining operations near Starke, FL, though 2017. The life of the Stony Creek, VA, operation was recently extended to 2015 through the addition of the Brink deposit.

In Mozambique, plans were announced to expand ilmenite production capacity at the Moma mining operation to 1.8 million tons per year, a 50% increase compared with the existing design capacity. In October, a breach in a settling pond flooded nearby homes and disrupted mining operations at the Moma Mine for 1 month. In Vietnam, Government policies were being implemented to stop ilmenite exports, control illegal mining, and promote the development of upgraded products. An export ban was expected to be implemented in January 2011. The ban was approved in 2008 but has been repeatedly delayed to help mining companies hurt by global economic conditions. Prepared by

Because TiO2 pigment is used in paint, paper, and plastics, consumption is tied to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In June, the World Bank forecast global GDP growth to be 3.3% in 2010. Recovering demand from the construction and automotive industries led to an increase in global production of TiO2 pigment compared with that in 2009. To meet rising domestic and global TiO2 consumption, domestic production of TiO2 pigment was estimated to be 1.4 million tons, a 14% increase compared with that in 2009. In Australia, TiO2 pigment capacity increased to 150,000 tons per year from 110,000 tons per year through the expansion of an existing chloride-route plant.

Increasing demand and reduced inventories brought about by production curtailments made in 2009 and 2010 allowed several metal producers to resume plans to increase titanium sponge production capacity. In Japan, sponge capacity was expected to increase to 66,000 tons per year in 2011. In Russia, sponge capacity was expected to rise to 44,000 tons per year by 2014. In China, titanium metal capacity was forecasted to increase by 100,000 tons per year beyond existing capacity, but a schedule was not available for the expansion. In India, a 500-ton-per-year titanium sponge plant was under construction at Kollam. The plant is the first of its kind in India and was to be supplied with titanium tetrachloride from an existing TiO2 producer. In the United States, new titanium production capacity neared completion in Ottawa, IL. Instead of sponge produced by magnesium reduction via the Kroll process, the plant produced titanium metal powder by sodium reduction by the Armstrong process. Production capacity was expected to be 2,000 tons per year by yearend 2011. At least three other Kroll-alternative titanium technologies were expected to be in the pilot-plant stage of development in 2011.

World Resources: The commercial feedstock sources for titanium are ilmenite, leucoxene, rutile, slag, and synthetic rutile. Ilmenite accounts for about 91% of the world’s consumption of titanium minerals. World resources of anatase, ilmenite, and rutile total more than 2 billion tons.

Substitutes: Ilmenite, leucoxene, rutile, slag, and synthetic rutile compete as feedstock sources for producing TiO2 pigment, titanium metal, and welding-rod coatings.There are few materials that possess titanium metal’s strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance. In high-strength applications, titanium competes with aluminum, composites, intermetallics, steel, and superalloys. Aluminum, nickel, specialty steels, and zirconium alloys may be substituted for titanium for applications that require corrosion resistance. Ground calcium carbonate, precipitated calcium carbonate, kaolin, and talc compete with titanium dioxide as a white pigment.

Titanium Producers
Allegheny Technologies (NYSE: ATI) - - The major supplier of titanium to Boeing. Their titanium operations are in a number of segments. Allegheny Ludlum makes titanium sheets, strips, plates and foil. Their Allvac operation makes titanium bars, ingots, billets and rods. Titanium International makes commercially pure titanium and titanium alloys in sheet, plate, bar, billet, tube and wire. Wah Chang is a provider of a number of other specialty metals and alloys.
Argex Mining (CVE: RGX) - La Blanche ilmenite tiatnium dioxide ore
Dupont Chemical (NYSE: DD) - - titanium dioxide
Lyondell Chemical (NYSE: LYO) - Their Millennium Chemicals division is the world's second largest producer of titanium dioxide.
Kenmare Resources (LON: KMR) - Moma Titanium Minerals Mine in Mozambique
Rio Tinto -
RTI International (NYSE: RTI) -
Titanium Corporation (CVE: TIC)
Titanium Metals (NYSE: TIE) - - A wide variety of titanium mill products.
White Mountain Titanium Corporation (OTC: WMTM)

Titanium Metal Supply - Titanium Plate and Titanium Sheet in a wide variety of grades and specifications.

Titanium price chart -

(wiki) - Titanium on Wikipedia

Titanium News
2011-07-22 - (mb) - US titanium scrap loses further ground in auction
2011-07-20 - (mw) - DuPont Titanium Technologies announces a price increase for Ti-Pure® titanium dioxide products sold in Europe, Middle East and Africa
2011-07-20 - (dn) - Breakthroughs promise cheaper titanium
2011-07-11 - (reu) - Australia firm says Kenya titanium project starts Sept
2011-07-11 - (mm) - What they don't teach you in six-sigma: Sourcing titanium form Cold War-era USSR
2011-07-06 - (nik) - Nippon Steel unveils faster way to produce titanium sheet
2011-06-29 - (for) - Kronos boosts prices for titanium dioxide products
2011-06-24 - (fb) - EADS, Aubert & Duval, Eramet, UKTMP sign titanium supply deal
2011-06-24 - (wsj) - Moody's: strong titanium market may last to '13, sees ratings lift
2011-06-16 - (prn) - White Mountain reports on results and developments with titanium metal test work
2011-06-15 - (bsh) - Jacobs receives contract from DuPont Titanium Technologies
2011-06-13 - (bw) - Allied American Steel to continue with next phase of advanced iron-titanium deposity drilling
2011-06-13 - (bop) - Bay could drive titanium industry
2011-06-12 - (vn) - Raw titanium "bleeding" causes millions dollars in loss
2011-06-06 - (mm - Rhodium and titanium sponge seeing record price increases
2010-11-19 - (ipmd) - CSIRO embarks on titanium powder rolled strip initiative
2010-11-19 - (mt) - Titanium Valley emerges in the mountains
2010-11-18 - (bl) - Base Resources' Kenyan unit to start titanium mine by mid-2013
2010-11-09 - (nas) - Major titanium find puts Paraguay on mining map
2010-11-03 - (mw) - Carpenter Technology announces expansion of facility to support growing aerospace fastener wire demand

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