The global ilmenite market size is expected to witness potential gains in the future, and register a significant CAGR of 4.2% over the forecast period (2019 - 2027).
Ilmenite is a titanium-iron oxide mineral and an important constituent of beach sand deposits. Sulfate process or the chloride process is used to convert ilmenite into pigment grade titanium dioxide. The Becher process can be used to improve and purify ilmenite to obtain rutile, a mineral used in paints, plastics, paper, foods, and other applications. Ilmenite is majorly found in eastern coast and western coast of Australia; Richards Bay in South Africa; eastern coast of America; Kerala in India; and eastern coast and southern coast of Brazil. Cr-rich picroilmenite, ferrian ilmenite, and hystatite are some of the verities of ilmenite.
Ilmenite is majorly used for production of white titanium dioxide pigment. It is also used in manufacturing of all types of white and pastels shades of paints, white-walled tires, glazed papers, plastics, printed fabrics, flooring materials such as linoleum. Therefore, increasing demand for paints and coatings is expected to boost the market growth for ilmenite. Increasing demand for paper and plastics is also expected to contribute to growth of the global ilmenite market.
However, increasing concerns about adverse effects of mining activity is expected to retrain growth of the global ilmenite market. Moreover, titanium dioxide is classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). These factors are expected to hinder the market growth to some extent.
Ilmenite was found in Moon rocks. Although mining for commercial purposes is not allowed, key players may focus on research and development through major space agencies. This may help for commercialization of ilmenite, if allowed, in the near future.
Owing to the rapidly expanding textile and leather industries, the Asia Pacific region is expected to account for a significant market share. Furthermore, the growing production of fabrics such as silk and nylon in countries such as India and China is adding to the demand for acid dyes in this region. Some of the manufacturers based in Europe and North America are shifting their manufacturing base to Asia Pacific. Europe is expected to witness a considerably slower growth owing to strict regulations by environmental agencies in the region. For instance, production of Acid Red 128, has been banned in Europe owing to the toxic intermediaries used in its manufacturing process. However, growing awareness and preference for ecofriendly products is expected to positively impact the market growth in the region.
Asia Pacific holds dominant position in the global ilmenite market and is expected to maintain its dominance during the forecast period. This is owing to presence of major sources of ilmenite in the region. Ilmenite is found in eastern coast and western coast of Australia and in India. The market is also expected to be the fastest growing market, owing to significant growth in the paints and coating industry in countries such as India and China.
Key players operating in the global ilmenite market include, Shanghai Yuejiang Titanium Chemical Manufacturer Co., Ltd., Jiangxi Jinshibao Mining Machinery Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Abbott Blackstone, and Yucheng Jinhe Industrial Co., Ltd.