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    CIS titanium resources

    2004

    Trends in production and consumption 

    Current production

    The two largest producers of titanium resources in the CIS are the Ukrainian enterprises Vilnohirsk State Mining & Metallurgical Plant (VSMMP) and Irshansky GOK. Ukraine currently accounts for over 95% of titanium resource production in the CIS.

    VSMMP produced 191,000 tonnes and 62,000 tonnes of ilmenite and rutile concentrate respectively in 2002 (equivalent to 120,000 tonnes and 60,000 tonnes of TiO2). Irshansky GOK produced 230,000 tonnes of ilmenite concentrate in 2002 (127,000 tonnes of TiO2).

    Titanium bearing ores are also mined by JSC Sevredmet in Murmansk oblast, Russia. The company produces loparite [(Ce, La, Na, Ca, Sr)(Ti, Nb)O3] concentrate, a complex resource, and in recent years has output 3,500-4,500 tpa.

    Petrochemical company JSC Yaregskaya, based in Komi Republic, Russia, produces a small volume (up to 1,000 tpa TiO2) of leucoxene concentrate, but plans to increase production to 30,000 tpa of TiO2.

    Around 48% (320,000 tonnes in 2002) of the TiO2 concentrate produced in Ukraine is exported outside the CIS, to the Czech Republic, the USA, the UK, Italy and France among others.

    Within the CIS, VSMMP sells ilmenite concentrate to TiO2 and titanium sponge producers Zaporozhe Combine, JSC AVISMA, and Ust-Kamenogorsk Combine (UKTMK), and sells both ilmenite and rutile concentrate to various welding electrode plants.

    Irshansky sells ilmenite concentrate to UKTMK, AVISMA and to TiO2 producers GAK Titan and JSC Sumykhimprom. Until recently, UKTMK imported titanium slag from Ukraine and Canada, but after commissioning a roasting plant, began to consume ilmenite concentrate from Ukraine and a small volume from its own resources in the Satpaev deposit.

    Sevredmet supplies loparite concentrate to the Solikamsk TiO2 plant and Yaregskaya supplies leucoxene concentrate to the Klyuchevskoi ferroalloy plant.

    Future developments

    Over the coming years, large scale mining is expected at the Lukoyanovsky, Tarsky, Tugansky and Central titanium-zircon placer deposits in Russia. Norilsk Nickel plans to become a significant player in the Russian titanium industry. The company has purchased exploitation rights on two deposits: Central in Tambov oblast and Gremyakha-Vyrmes in Murmansk oblast.

    In Kazakhstan, exploitation of the Satpaev deposit is underway to supply domestic demand. A mining and concentrating operation with a capacity of 1m.m3 ilmenite sands was completed in mid- 2002. Kazchrome Corp. has also built a pilot concentrator for retreating bulk concentrate from the Shokashsky deposit at JSC Ferrochrome’s Aktyubinsk ferroalloy plant.

    Consumption

    Since the dissolution of the USSR, the balance of supply to the different consuming sectors has changed. During the Soviet era, the biggest market for titanium resources was in the production of titanium sponge (44%), followed by TiO2 (35%), welding electrodes (15%) and ferro-titanium (5%). 

    Today in the CIS, TiO2 is the biggest consumer of titanium resources, accounting for 48% of consumption in 2002 despite an overall decline in production.

    Consumption in titanium sponge dropped slightly, to 42%. Less than 10% is supplied to the welding electrodes market, and around 1% for ferro-titanium.

    InfoMine estimates that Ukraine accounts for 54% of titanium resources in the CIS; Russia consumes 32%; and Kazakhstan consumes 14%. Production is forecast to increase over the coming years, mainly through increased capacity in Russia and Kazakhstan. Titanium sponge and TiO2 capacity will increase, but overall consumption is expected to grow at a slower rate than production, paving the way for increased exports.

    TiO2

    Ukraine is home to the CIS’s biggest TiO2 producers: GAK Titan in Crimea and JSC Sumykhimprom in Sumy oblast. The two companies have a total capacity of 125,000 tpa.

    After hitting a low of 39,000 tonnes in 1997, Ukrainian TiO2 production increased to 91,000 tonnes in 2001. Production decreased again to 73,000 tonnes in 2002, and rose slightly to an estimated 77-78,000 tonnes in 2003.

    Titan and Sumykhimprom mainly use ilmenite from Irshansky. In order to improve its grade, Titan imports some ilmenite concentrate from India, and has tested Canadian titanium slag. Titan intends to expand its capacity to 80,000 tpa and eventually to 100-120,000 tpa.

    Several small TiO2 producers operate in Russia, including the JSC Solikamsk magnesium plant, JSC Khimprom and JSC AVISMA, which resumed production in 2003 after a hiatus. Russia’s total TiO2 production is currently only 5-7,000 tpa, but all the producers have plans to increase their output.

    Welding electrodes

    CIS producers of welding electrodes are based in Russia and Ukraine. Russia has over 70 plants producing electrodes, and according to the Electrode Association, produces a total of 145,000 tpa of rutile-ilmenite coated electrodes. Leading producers are JSC Ospaz in Orel oblast, JSC Losinoostrovsky electrode plant in Moscow and JSC Cherepovets steel rolling plant in Vologda oblast.

    Ukraine produces 29,000 tonnes of rutile-ilmenite coated electrodes, the leading producers being Plant im. Paton in Kiev and Artemovsky plant in Vostok, Donetsk oblast.

    Dr. Igor Petrov
    "Industrial Mining", February 2004, p.56
     

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