Huge global opportunity for Australia’s mineral sands
Australia has an enormous opportunity to supply the growing market with our high grade mineral sands resources.
Our nation has the world’s largest mineral sands deposits and is home to a number of active Australian mineral sands companies.
As Australia looks for new opportunities post COVID-19, the mineral sands industry offers a big opportunity for economic growth and jobs in regional Australia.
The MCA’s new publication Mineral Sands: From ancient oceans to modern technology highlights the opportunity to supply growing markets with high grade mineral sand resources.
Australia has an abundance of titanium mineral sands with 32 per cent of the world’s share of ilmenite (titanium) resources, 62 per cent of rutile resources and 68 per cent of global zircon resources.
Rutile and ilmenite are used in the production of paint, titanium metal and medical implants. Zircon is used in ceramics, digital printing, dentistry and electrical components.
Smaller quantities of rare earth elements are also produced through mineral sands used in wind turbine magnets, and in medical, manufactured and electronic products such as fibre optics, rechargeable batteries and hybrid cars.
As the world moves to a lower carbon economy, demand for these inputs is growing and offers Australia the opportunity to be a part of green technology supply chains.
Western Australia, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland supply mineral sands around the world.
The Murray Basin – covering parts of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia – has globally significant resources of zircon and titanium minerals.
Victoria has 39 per cent of Australia’s zircon resources and has the potential to be a global supplier of high grade zircon mineral sands.
Mineral sands deposits are also found in the Eucla Basin in South Australia and Western Australia. Other states have the opportunity to develop mineral sands mines with deposits identified in Tasmania, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Modern responsible mining works with local communities to deliver regional development, rapid land rehabilitation and works to respectfully protect cultural heritage and the environment.
The shallow depth of mineral sands operations minimises environmental impacts through progressive land rehabilitation which ensures the timely restoration of the landscape.