Titanium dioxide, the most important white pigment with the highest refractive index, is the top-selling pigment type for paints, varnishes, paper, and plastics. It is used, for example, for the production of glass, ceramics, and catalysts. Titanium dioxide is used in food and medicine as well as in sunscreen. The market research company Ceresana extensively analyzed the global market for titanium dioxide along the complete value-added chain already for the second time: from the feedstock ilmenite, leucoxene, and rutile to the refined intermediates titanium slag and synthetic rutile up to the individual end products.
Ilmenite is the main source"Titanium dioxide" is the generic term for ilmenite, leucoxene, natural and synthetic rutile, as well as titanium slag. All of these products contain different amounts of titanium dioxide - depending on product type and country of origin. Ilmenite was by far the most important feedstock for the production of titanium dioxide in 2015 with an amount of over 11.2 million tonnes. Ilmenite has a varying titanium dioxide content of between 38% and 60%. The content of natural and synthetic rutile is between 93% and 96% and of titanium slag between 81% and 95%. In 2015, almost 8.7 million tonnes of pure titanium dioxide were manufactured thereof worldwide. More than two thirds of it were processed to pigments. For other end products, such as technically pure titanium, electrical conductors, and chemical intermediates, about 11% were utilized. About 28% were used for further refinement to synthetic rutile and titanium slag.
Paints and varnishes dominateThe feedstock for the production of titanium dioxide originates in very few countries, for example South Africa, Sierra Leone, and Saudi-Arabia. On the other hand, demand is determined by processors in Asia-Pacific, North America, and Western Europe. The most important sales market with a share of more than 56% is the processing in paints and varnishes. The application areas plastics, paper, and other pigment applications, such as food and sunscreen, rank second to fourth.