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Mining & Resources

Mineral sands: Where to from here?

30 Apr 2015, by Informa Insights

“We meet in a very eventful time” was Reg Adams’ of Artikol’s opening remark, when he kicked off the presentations for the 15th Anniversary Mineral Sands Conference in Melbourne this March, and what an eventful few days, it was.

Adams, now a regular international speaker at the conference, brings a wealth of Global Ti02 market industry knowledge and expertise and is always a welcome figure at the conference.

He opened with the point that “China is the workshop of the world”, an important musing for the heavy mineral sands industry, given the swing China has made from “net importer of pigment, to a net exporter”, as Ti02 is now used in China to make products to satisfy consumption, elsewhere in the world.

Adams reported that Artikol (UK) anticipates prices are currently at their bottom price in 2015 and hopes to see a steady improvement further into the year. With China’s growth estimated at 6% per annum, this is still enough to give the industry a boost in Adams’ opinion.

See below to view Adams’ presentation slides, where he shares his thoughts on some of the following points, on the theme of Global Ti02 market outlook and trends:

  • Spin-offs, mergers & acquisitions: Who will be the new owners of TiO2 assets?
  • What will be the impact of China on world supply and demand?
  • After the 2011/12 upsurge, prices have fallen back. Will they rise again or fall still further?
  • Chloride vs sulphate technologies & potentially new ways of making TiO2? How will changes in the balance affect feedstock demand?

[slideshare id=46192231&doc=regadams-150323170211-conversion-gate01]

Dr. Victor Hugo, General Manager of Exploration for Iluka Resources Ltd, was the second speaker of the day. With a ‘life time in the industry’ Hugo offered Iluka’s perspective on the challenges facing the mineral sands industry. Iluka are the major producer of zircon globally and largest producer of the high-grade titanium dioxide products of rutile and synthetic rutile with operations in Australia and Virginia, USA.

Hugo addressed the following:

  • An overview of the key dynamics and challenges in the mineral sands industry
  • Exploration, resource and technical considerations to meet demand in the longer term
  • Key areas of Iluka’s focus – organic growth, market development, exploration, innovation and technology, preparedness to act counter-cyclically

[slideshare id=46193050&doc=victorhugo-150323172607-conversion-gate01]

Over the course of the two days delegates heard updates on a number of domestic mineral sands projects, these included presentations from MZI Resources Ltd, Sheffield Resources Ltd and Diatreme Resources Ltd. Two new projects that were spoken about included Broken Hill Prospecting’s Copi North Prospect and Magic prospect in NSW and Australian Zircon NL, WIM150 Joint Venture Mineral Sands Project in Victoria.

“How do you think demand for Tio2 pigment, feedstock and zircon will evolve in the mid-term?” was one of the questions posed to the industry expert panel, taking part in the panel discussion hosted on day two of the conference. Panel members included Reg Adams, Managing Director of ARTIKOL (UK), David McCoy, Principal Consultant and Executive Director for TZ Minerals International, Jessica Roberts, Senior Analyst with Roskill Information Services Ltd and Will de Beaurepaire, Director of Rathlin Group.

Want more? You can view all the 2015 Mineral Sands Conference presentations here.

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