Minerals for a Better World

A vital ingredient in everyday life

Mineral sands and rare earths are important ingredients in a wide range of products that we use around the house and in personal recreation, communications, mobile technology, medical applications, transport and renewable energy production.

Minerals in every household

Mineral sands are essential ingredients in many personal and household items including toothpaste, paint, tiles, sunscreen, computers and mobile phones, just to name a few.

Titanium dioxide is the most widely used white pigment because of its non-toxicity, brightness and very high refractive index. It is an essential component of consumer products such as paint, plastics and paper and is used as a pigment in everyday personal products – toothpaste, sunscreen, cosmetics, and food items.

Zircon has a range of uses, the largest of which is ceramic tiles, accounting for more than 50 per cent of global zircon consumption. Zircon gives ceramic tiles their brilliant opacity, whiteness and brightness. Zircon’s unique properties include heat and wear resistance, stability, opacity, hardness and strength. These properties mean it is also sought after for other applications such as refractories, foundries and specialty chemicals.

Important to medical technology

Minerals sands are used in prosthetics and joint replacements that require strong, lightweight metals.

Titanium is one of the most biocompatible metals – the human body can handle it in large doses with no impact. In fact, it is estimated that we ingest around 0.8mg of titanium a day – most passes through us without being absorbed. Also, its density is very similar to human bone, which will readily adhere to it. These qualities make Titanium perfect for use in surgical implants, such as hip balls, sockets (joint replacements), heart stents and dental implants.

Rare earths also play a vital part in modern medical technology such as MRI machines.

Transport and aerospace industries

Alloys of Titanium are mainly used in the aerospace industry, in aircraft frames and engines where strong, lightweight, temperature-resistant materials are needed.

Mobile technology and computing

Rare earth metals and alloys that contain them are used in many electronic and communications devices that people use every day such as computer memory, DVDs, rechargeable batteries, and mobile phones.

Sporting goods

The high strength to weight ratio of Titanium makes it ideal for use in a wide range of sporting equipment, including lightweight bicycles, tennis racquets and golf club heads.

Essential for the the world's renewable energy

Rare earths extracted in mineral sands mining are essential ingredients in the manufacture of wind turbines and electric vehicles.

Global demand for rare earths is increasing as the growth in renewable energy continues to address climate change. If we want to continue clean energy production to address climate change, we need to produce rare earths.

The Fingerboards deposit is rich in the highly valuable rare earths Neodymium, Praseodymium, Dysprosium and Terbium. These rare earths are used in myriad applications, but are essential to high-tech mobile technology, medical applications, permanent magnets used in direct drive turbines in windfarms, and electric motors in electric vehicles.

The Fingerboards Mine is one of the largest Zircon and rare earth development projects in the world. Once in production, the Fingerboards is expected to supply up to 5% of global demand for rare earths, essential for the development of clean energy. The annual production from the Fingerboards Project could supply enough rare earths for the construction of approximately 2.8 million electric vehicles, or wind turbines producing 14GW of power, enough for 4.5 million homes.

Close to home, the Star of the South windfarm project has the potential to power around 1 million homes in southern Victoria with renewable energy and could require a significant quantity of the Fingerboard’s rare earth production if direct drive turbines are used.