A Review Of Sub-Saharan Heavy Mineral Sand Deposits: Implications For New Projects In Southern Africa

Tyler, R. M.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 12
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2004
The importance of the heavy mineral sands to southern African economic well-being cannot be over emphasized. The value of the worldwide titanium dioxide industry is estimated at $7 billion. Six out of eight of the world?s proposed new project areas are in southern and eastern Africa, and a seventh at Tamil Nadu in India is partly owned by a South African company, Kumba Resources. The HMS industry can be highly lucrative; its return on capital is the best in the mining industry. There are, however, problems, particularly in the smelting technology. The often considerable affect of mining on environmentally sensitive coastal dunes is also becoming increasingly important. The medium-to long-term demand for Ti-dioxide pigment and ceramic grade zircon appears very healthy. If, as predicted, the costs of producing titanium metal can be reduced, then there is huge potential for the metal. In summary, the HMS industry is an attractive one to be in, with good returns and generally manageable risks. New business opportunities and their economic implications for Africa are discussed.
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