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larger second-generation projects in
Mr Bruce McFadzean (of Sheffield
Resources) described his company’s plans
for developing the Thunderbird deposits on
the Dampier Peninsula in the Canning
Basin region of Western Australia (about
90 km northeast of Broome and 60 km west
of Derby). Mr McFadzean said: “We are
developing the largest zircon-rich deposits
to be discovered anywhere in the world
during the past 30 years. Based on in situ
mineral value, at equivalent commodity
price assumptions, Thunderbird is three or
four times larger than Iluka’s Jacinth/
Ambrosia, discovered in 2004. Counting
both TiO2 and zircon, the minerals are
present at significantly higher average
grades than Richards Bay, Namakwa,
Moma, Cataby, Kwale, Grande Côte,
Petriky/Mandena, Cooljarloo and most other
known mineral sands deposits.” The
Thunderbird project will entail three phases
over a mine-life of 42 years. All the ilmenite
will be upgraded by a special lowtemperature reduction roasting process to
generate “LTR ilmenite” (containing 56.1%
TiO2). In Phase 1 (Years 1-4), the average
target output rates will be 264,500 tonnes/y
of LTR ilmenite and 51,500 tonnes/y of
premium-grade zircon. Total net revenue
over the total mine-life should be A
$12.8 bn, of which: premium-grade zircon
will contribute 43%; LTR ilmenite 29%;
zircon-in-concentrates 19%; HiTi-88
leucoxene 4%; and titaniferous magnetite
5%. Assuming satisfactory progress on the
approvals, funding and construction stages
of the project, Sheffield Resources expects
to commence commercial-scale production
during the first half of 2019.
Mr Rob Bishop (of Kalbar Resources)
outlined his company’s Fingerboards
project, based on a high-grade section at
the eastern end of the Glenaladale orebody
(about 280 km east of Melbourne and
20 km northwest of Bairnsdale). The
company acquired Rio Tinto’s mineral
sands properties covering most of the area
of the former Gippsland province (about
400,000 hectares) in 2013. The
Glenaladale deposit is estimated to contain
53 M tonnes of heavy minerals in situ,
including about 12 M tonnes of zircon. The
scope of the Fingerboards project entails
extracting 200 M tonnes of ore to generate
5 M tonnes of heavy mineral concentrates
over a mine-life of 20 years. Commencing
in mid-2019, Kalbar intends to export the
250,000 tonnes/y of heavy mineral
concentrates for further processing
elsewhere, probably in China.
Mr Bishop’s presentation was the last of
this year’s Informa Mineral Sands
Conference. In his closing remarks as
Conference Chairman, Mr Rob Sennitt
noted that there was a distinctly more
optimistic mood this year, with signs of an
upswing in TiO2 pigment, TiO2 feedstock
and zircon prices and demand. He thanked
all the speakers and the Informa staff and
said that he was sure that all the attendees
would be looking forward to reassembling
for the 18th Informa Conference next year.
Reg Adams
1) For those who were unable to attend the
event, the full set of published papers from
the Perth Conference (15-16 March 2017) are
available. For details, please contact: Ms Rosie
Hooley, Informa, PO Box Q1439, Sydney QVB,
New South Wales 1230, Australia. Tel: +61 2
9080 4430. E-mail:
au. Website:
Belarus: Omsk Carbon – carbon
The timetable for the Mogilev carbon black
project has been reset again and the
planned capacity has been increased
again. Omsk Carbon (formerly known as
Omsk Techuglerod) first announced plans
to build a carbon black plant in the Mogilev
region (220 km east of Minsk, capital of
Belarus) in early 2013. At that time, the
initial capacity was going to be
80,000 tonnes/y. (See ‘Focus on Pigments’,
Feb 2013, 3).
About 12 months later, Omsk Carbon
stated that the initial design capacity for the
plant had been raised to 120,000 tonnes/y.
The capital investment budget was reported
as Rbl 4.5 bn (equivalent to $125 M at that
time) and the plant was due to start
production during 2017. (See ‘Focus on
Pigments’, May 2014, 5).
With the latest revision, Omsk Carbon
refers to the initial capacity of the plant as
160,000 tonnes/y. The capital investment
budget is now reported as Rbl 6.79 bn
(equivalent to $113 M) and the plant is
scheduled to commence production before
the end of June 2018, with full-scale
production being attained during 2020. Mr
Valeriy Kapulant (Chairman) said: “We are
doing our best to make our Mogilev plant
the world’s most advanced carbon black
facility in terms of process equipment in our
industry. Changing the launch date enables
us to ensure excellent performance
indicators for the facility and 100%
compliance with environmental
Original Source: RCCnews, 24 Jul 2017,
ã 2017.
Colombia, India, Romania & Spain:
Ferro – ultramarine
When it acquired Nubiola (of Barcelona) in
mid-2015, Ferro Corp (headquartered in
Mayfield Heights, an eastern suburb of
Cleveland, OH) became the world’s largest
producer of ultramarine blue, violet and
pink pigments, with production facilities at
Llodio (Spain), Doicesti (Romania),
Girardota (Colombia) and at Nagar Chennai
(India). Ferro has now announced a major
programme of investments to increase its
ultramarine capacity and to upgrade
equipment and technology so as to support
the company’s environmental health, safety,
quality, and future product development
objectives. Mr Matthias Bell (Vice
President, the Americas & Color Solutions)
said: “This comprehensive programme will
be implemented globally over the next 18
months, with immediate focus on increasing
capacity for high-grade product lines and
optimising production by early 2018.”
Original Source: Ferro Corp, 28 Jun 2017
(Suite 250, 6060 Parkland Blvd, Mayfield
Heights, OH 44124, USA, Website: http://www. ã Ferro 2017.
France: Huntsman – TiO2
On 17 March 2017, Huntsman Corp
announced that it would shut down the
“white-end” of its sulfate-route TiO2 pigment
plant at Calais (northern France). The
closure is due to be implemented by the
end of September 2017. The “black-end” of
the plant, with a nominal capacity of
95,000-100,000 tonnes/y, had already been
shut down on 27 July 2015. As a
consequence, the workforce at the Calais
plant was reduced from 270 to 114 people.
As a condition for approval of its
acquisition of Sachtleben’s three TiO2
plants in September 2014, the EU anti-trust
authority had insisted that Huntsman must
divest some of its capacity for making TiO2
pigment grades for the printing inks
industry. The choice was between divesting
the RDI-S business (based at the former
Sachtleben plant in Finland) and divesting
the TR-52 business (based at the Calais
plant). Huntsman chose the latter option.
On 10 December 2014, it signed an
agreement with Henan Billions (now Lomon
Billions) to sell the TR-52 business for
$10 bn, including the transfer of customer
lists, patent rights, etc. Huntsman also
agreed to continue producing TR-52
pigment at Calais on a toll-manufacturing
basis for up to four years, with all the
output being made available for sale by
Lomon Billions. The Chinese company
made it clear from the outset that it would
strive to transfer the technology to its own
plant at Jiaozuo (Henan province, China)
as quickly as possible, whilst ensuring no
detrimental impact on product quality. The
March 2017 announcement notifying final
closure of the Calais plant indicated that
the TR-52 pigment produced at Jiaozuo
was now of an acceptable quality.
In line with the provisions of the socalled Florange Law, which took effect as
September 2017
from 1 April 2014, Huntsman was obliged
to invite third parties to consider purchasing
the assets at Calais with a view to keeping
the plant open and maintaining local
employment. In mid-July 2017, after the
expiry of the mandatory four months,
Huntsman declared that no suitable buyer
had come forward. Therefore, the company,
in collaboration with the three relevant trade
unions (the CFE-CGC, the UNSA and the
CGT), drafted a plan for terminating the
employment of the 105 remaining workers
at the site, the Plan de Sauvegarde de
l’Emploi (PSE).
However, it now seems that no final date
has been established for laying-off all the
workers. Certainly, the plant had ceased
producing TR-52 pigment by mid-July 2017.
Subsequently, employees have been
engaged in cleaning up the site and
carrying out routine maintenance work.
According to some of the trade union
representatives, the plant is being kept on a
care-and-maintenance basis for the time
being – and possibly until the end of
September 2018 – in case the Jiaozuo
plant fails to produce sufficient quantities of
TR-52 pigment of a marketable quality.
Original Source: TiO2 Worldwide Update, Aug
2017, 25 (3), 35-36 (Website: http://www. ã Artikol 2017.
Germany: MK Chemicals – TiO2
pigment pastes
MK Chemicals GmbH (of BockenemBornum, 30 km west of Goslar in
Niedersachsen, Germany) recently doubled
its capacity for making transparent TiO2
pigment pastes from 25 tonnes/y to
50 tonnes/y. MK Chemicals makes a wide
range of water-based and solvent-based
pigment preparations for semi-finished and
finished products in the plastic, paper,
abrasives and rubber industries.
Original Source: Farbe und Lack (Online
Version), 13 Mar 2017, (Website: http://www. (in German) ã Vincentz
Network 2017.
Russia: Nizhnekamsk TG – carbon
JSC Nizhnekamsktechuglerod (part of the
Tatneft group) reported its carbon black
output and sales for full-year 2016 at more
than 118,000 tonnes, of which more than
85,000 tonnes were sold to Russian
customers (including notably the local tyre
plant) and more than 33,000 tonnes were
exported. The company’s plant is located at
Nizhnekamsk in the Tatarstan republic within
the Russian Federation, 270 km east of
Original Source: RCCnews, 26 May 2017,
ã 2017.
September 2017
Sweden: AkzoNobel – Expancel
AkzoNobel plans to invest more than
s20 M to increase capacity for making
Expancel expandable hollow microspheres
at its plant in Stockvik (10 km south of
Sundsvall on the east coast of Sweden).
The expansion should be completed by the
end of 2018. Expancel hollow microspheres
consist of a thermoplastic shell (typically 12
microns diameter, with a shell thickness of
2 microns) encapsulating a hydrocarbon
gas. When heated to temperatures of 80235 C, the microspheres expand by up to
60 times in volume, stretching the shell
thickness to about 0.1 microns. Standard
Expancel microspheres have a density of
25 kilos per cubic metre, which is very
much lower than glass microspheres or any
other lightweight filler. Also Expancel
microspheres have a low binder demand.
Therefore, in paint systems, the use of
Expancel makes it possible to reduce
binder consumption without jeopardising the
paint’s physical properties.
There are several different Expancel
grades. Expancel WU grades are suitable
for waterborne applications in making
carpet underlays, printing inks, technical
textiles and certain non-woven fabrics.
Expancel DU grades are suitable for
applications where no water can be added,
such as certain industrial non-woven
textiles, underbody coatings & sealants,
silicone rubber, shoe soles, etc. Expancel
MB grades, mixed with a carrier resin, are
used for making plastics masterbatches,
where the closed cells and uniform cell
structure provide optimum results. Expancel
SL grades are supplied as slurries,
dispersed in water for making core-board,
boxboard, paper coatings and leather
finishes. Expancel FG grades are suitable
for food-contact applications, such as wine
corks, cap seals, packaging, etc.
Ms Sylvia Winkel, Director of Expancel
at AkzoNobel said: “We are seeing a strong
increase in demand for Expancel. We are
continuously developing new solutions to
fulfil new and exciting customer needs. For
example, we worked with key customers to
introduce microspheres to corks, allowing
better preservation of bottled wine. Another
niche growth market is the use of
microspheres in porous ceramics, such as
for diesel particulate filters in trucks, which
lead to lower emissions.”
Original Source: AkzoNobel, 5 July 2017
(Christian Neefestraat 2, 1077 ww Amsterdam,
Netherlands, Website: http://www.akzonobel.
com) ã AkzoNobel 2017.
Switzerland: Ineos – natural Active
Resysta Filler for PVC compounds
Resysta International has granted a licence
to Ineos Compounds, giving Ineos the
rights to produce and market Active
Resysta Filler (ARF) anywhere in Europe.
To begin with, Ineos will manufacture ARF
at its Sins complex (30 km south of Zurich).
ARF, described as a natural filler for
polyvinyl chloride (PVC) compounds, has
been developed by Resysta International (of
Taufkirchen, 12 km south of Munich) over
the past 15 years. It is a fibre-reinforced
hybrid material, composed of 60% rice
husks, 22% common salt and 18% mineral
oils. PVC compounds containing ARF can be
fashioned into products with the “look and
feel of tropical wood” with surfaces that are
free from cracks, splinters, insects and fungi.
The material is extremely weather resistant
and is unaffected by sunlight, rain, snow and
saline conditions. Therefore, it is ideal for
making garden furniture, decking, building
facades, flooring materials in wet-rooms,
spas and swimming baths, boats, ships, etc.
Ineos Compounds is the largest European
manufacturer of PVC compounds, with
production sites at Swindon and Newton
Aycliffe (UK), Helsingborg (Sweden) and
Sins (Switzerland). The company
substantially boosted its position as a result
of the acquisition of Doeflex (based in
Swindon) in September 2014. It now
employs 350 people and generates sales
revenues in excess of s200 M per annum.
Ineos Compounds is one of 18 businesses in
the $40 bn Ineos group, founded by Mr Jim
Ratcliffe in 1998, and headquartered in Rolle
(30 km southwest of Lausanne, Switzerland).
Original Source: Pipe and Profile Extrusion,
Mar 2017, 47 (Website: http://www. ã Applied Market
Information Ltd 2017.
US: Bolder Industries – carbon black
from scrap tyres
Bolder Industries (formerly known as
Waste-to-Energy Partners, headquartered
in Boulder, CO) opened a new scrap tyre
processing facility at Maryville, MO (150 km
north of Kansas City) in April 2017. The
facility, known as Maryville Carbon
Solutions (MCS) will process annually at
least 1 M scrap tyres to generate
3175 tonnes of carbon black, 1.2 M US
gallons of reclaimed oil and 1600 tonnes of
recycled steel. The carbon black will be
marketed as Bolder Black.
The scrap tyre processing facility was
originally established by Carbolytic
Materials Co (CMC) at the Wilson Industrial
Road site in Maryville in 2009. CMC was
funded by a group of investors headed by
Dr Ray Riek, formerly Research Director at
Monsanto’s Rubber Chemicals division.
CMC was declared bankrupt in early 2014
and its assets were purchased at an April
2014 auction for $3 M by Advanced
Process Inc (of Ambridge, PA). In
December 2014, the business was sold on
to the predecessor of Bolder Industries,
which subsequently invested $10 M to
substantially expand capacity, but still
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