One of the most economically important mineral, Ilmenite is used as a major ore of titanium, a minor ore of iron, and as a flux in blast furnaces. The name Ilmenite comes from its type locality in the Ilmen Mountains, Miask in the southern portion of the Ural Mountains of Russia.
Iron-black or steel-gray, Ilmenite is a titanium-iron oxide mineral. It is most used as an abrasive and as mineral specimens. It is formed as a primary mineral in igneous rocks. Most of the ilmenite is mined for the production of titanium dioxide production. Finely ground titanium dioxide is a bright white powder widely used as a base pigment in paint, paper and plastics.
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About fifty percent of the titanium dioxide produced is consumed by Europe and North America.
Titanium alloys are used in high tech airplanes, missiles, space vehicles and surgical implants.
The World Map of Ilmenite Producers shows a list of the countries that produce ilmenite in large quantities. As the data in the map shows, South Africa leads the world in the production of ilmenite with an annual production of 1120 thousand metric tonnes every year.
Australia is the second-largest ilmenite producer and is followed by Canada, China, India, Vietnam, Mozambique, Norway, Ukraine, United States, Madagascar, Brazil, and Sri Lanka.