Mineral sands are typically old beach or dunal sands that contain concentrations of important titanium minerals (including rutile and ilmenite) and zircon. These minerals are physically heavy and are also called ‘heavy minerals’.
Mineral sands can be used for a variety of industrial purposes and are found in a range of everyday consumer goods such as pigment for paint, paper and plastics as well as toothpaste, sun cream and homewares such as ceramics.
Because of their widespread use in industrial and consumer goods, demand for mineral sands is strongly linked to global GDP growth. New housing construction, health of emerging economies and the seasonal northern hemisphere painting season (dry and warm months) are all key drivers of demand for mineral sands.