Sypnosis Heavy Mineral Deposits

Stitt P H,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 1
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1988
In Australia, the term "heavy mineral deposits" is used to denote sands which contain variable but economic quantities of the minerals rutile, ilmenite and zircon, often with minor amounts of monazite and xenotime as co-products. Australia has been a significant producer of rutile, ilmenite and zircon from such sands for fifty years and has long been the leading producer of rutile and zircon. The industry had its beginnings with the mining of present day beaches in northern NSW in 1934. Early work was small scale and in some cases involved hand winning of naturally concen- trated mineral for direct export. During World War II and immediately after the industry became increasingly mechanised and by the 1970s on the east coast operated between Newcastle, NSW north to Fraser Island in Queensland. Deposits worked included present day beaches, fossil strand lines up to 5 km or more inland from the present coast and aeolian concentrations. In the mid 1950s, operations commenced on the west coast of WA, south of Perth. Western Australian mineral sands tend to be rich in ilmenite as compared to the east coast. However the WA ilmenites are lower in chrome oxide and make a better syn- thetic rutile feedstock.
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