Titanium is very rich in reserves on the earth, with a crustal abundance of 0.61%, which is higher than common copper, nickel, tin, lead and zinc. There are about 140 kinds of known titanium minerals, but now only ten kinds have mining value.
The titanium mineral deposits can be divided into two major categories: rock ore and placer.
|Titanium Rock Ore||Titanium Placer|
|Characteristic||Primary mine. They are basically symbiotic ores, including ilmenite, titanomagnetite and hematite.||Secondary mine. Deposited near the coast or riverbank, mainly including rutile, ilmenite; mostly associated with monazite, zircon and cassiterite.|
|Advantages||The production area is concentrated, the reserves are large, and it can be mined on a large scale.||The structure is loose, the gangue content is small, the selectivity is good, and the concentrate grade is high.|
|Disadvantages||The gangue content is high, the structure is compact, the selectivity is poor, the ore recovery rate is low, and the concentrate grade is low.||The production area is scattered and the grade of raw ore is low.|
|Place of Origin||Canada, China, India and Russia.||In the coastal and inner river sediments of South Africa, Australia, India and South America.|
|Source from Stanford Advanced Materials|
The main forms of titanium rock ore are ilmenite and titano-magnetite, and the industry mainly uses ilmenite (FeTiO3).
The ilmenite ore is one of the main titanium-containing minerals. It is a trigonal system, often in the form of irregular granules, scales, plates or flakes. Its color is iron black or steel gray, streaks steel ash or black; when it contains hematite inclusions, it is brown or maroon. The surface of ilmenite is metal to semi-metallic luster, and the fracture is shell-like or sub-shell-like.
The chemical composition of ilmenite is related to its formation conditions. The ilmenite produced in ultrabasic rocks and basic rocks has high MgO content and is basically free of Nb and Ta; The ilmenite in alkaline rock has high MnO content and contains Nb and Ta; The ilmenite in acid rock has high content of FeO and MnO, and the content of Nb and Ta is relatively high.
Titanomagnetite is another name for “vanadium-titanium magnetite” and is one of the main mineral components of titanium ore. Vanadium-titanium magnetite is a composite mineral with symbiotic multi-metal elements, which is a symbiotic magnetic iron ore containing iron, vanadium and titanium. Due to the close symbiosis of iron and titanium, most of the vanadium and iron minerals are present in the titanomagnetite in the same form as the vanadium-titanium magnetite.
The titanium placer is a secondary deposit, which is formed by weathering and stripping of rock deposits and then scouring and enriching by water flow, mainly including rutile, sand-like ilmenite, brookite, anatase and etc.
Rutile is a relatively pure titanium dioxide, generally containing more than 95% titanium dioxide. It is an important mineral raw material for refining titanium, but it has fewer reserves in the earth’s crust. It has excellent performances such as high-temperature resistance, low-temperature resistance, corrosion resistance, high strength and small specific gravity. It is widely used in military aviation, aerospace, marine, machinery, chemical industry, seawater desalination and so on.
Brookite, which is usually produced in gneiss and schist, usually in the form of plate crystals. The physical properties, production conditions and uses of brookite are similar to rutile, but it is not as stable and common as rutile. It is a mineral raw material for refining titanium.
Anatase, or octahedrite, is one of three minerals composed of titanium dioxide. The physical properties, production conditions and uses of anatase are similar to those of rutile, and they are homogeneous with rutile and brookite, and it can also be etched into rutile.
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