Mineral sands contain titanium dioxide (TiO2), a compound primarily used to produce white pigments, a raw material very widely used in paint, plastics and paper. Like titanium dioxide, zircon is used in the ceramics industry and in numerous applications such as abrasive or abrasion-resistant materials, jewelry (zirconium dioxide), the nuclear industry (zirconium metal), dentures, etc.
Grande Côte Operations (GCO) and TiZir Titanium and Iron (TTI) have combined their expertise to make TiZir a major player in the mineral sands industry: TTI benefits from the security of its high-quality ilmenite supply source, secured by GCO, which in turn guarantees the sale of a significant proportion of its production over the long term.
GCO: mineral sands production
The Grande Côte mineral sands mine is located to the north of Dakar, near Diogo, along the Atlantic coast of Senegal over a concession of around 106 km. Its industrial facilities include:
- A dredger and a floating concentration unit
- A plant for separating the heavy minerals produced from ilmenite, rutile, leucoxene and zircon
- An electric power plant
- A railway line operated by GCO
- Port and storage infrastructures
GCO produces two qualities of ilmenite: ilmenite 54 (with 54% titanium dioxide) and ilmenite 58 (with 58% titanium dioxide). A new product, ilmenite 56, is now marketed for the Chinese market. It comes from the recycling of mining residues and is part of a circular economy approach. This Senegalese subsidiary of Eramet also produces two grades of zircon: premium and standard.
TTI: metallurgical conversion
Located in Tyssedal, Norway, TTI's metallurgical conversion plant produces titanium dioxide slag and high-purity pig iron from Senegalese ilmenite.
TTI's slag is used by its customers to produce pigments or titanium metal based on procedures involving chlorine.
This plant has cutting-edge technology that just four other companies in the world have expertise in, as well as special access to hydroelectric power given its proximity to large water reserves used for this purpose.
- World number 4 producer of zircon
- Over 25 years of resources
- Operating for more than 30 years in Norway and since 2014 in Senegal
May 2020 : an agreement signed for the sale of the TTI plant
Eramet signed a binding agreement for the sale of 100% of the shares of TiZir Titanium & Iron (TTI), TiZir’s Norwegian plant, to the Tronox Holdings plc. The sale to Tronox, a leading vertically-integrated producer of pigment and titanium dioxide, is a great opportunity for the sustainable development of the plant. Eramet will keep control of its mineral sands mine Grande Côte Opérations (GCO) in Senegal, which will continue to supply ilmenite to TTI for the production of titanium slag and pig iron. Moreover, the agreement with Tronox includes a supply contract of ilmenite for TTI.