Blue Cube Systems (Pty) Ltd, Exxaro Resources Limited, Deros Maritime Limited, Namakwa Sands (Pty) Ltd, QIT Madagascar Minerals SA, Richards Bay Minerals, SamQuarz, Sierra Rutile Ltd, Southern Mining Corporation Ltd, Ticor (South Africa) Pty Ltd, Tiomin Resources Inc (Kenya)
South Africa is Africa’s main producer, with 30% of world production, second after Australia. Ilmenite, rutile and leucoxene are the primary ore minerals of titanium and are usually found in localised beach placer deposits, hence the term Heavy Mineral Sands. Anglo American and BHP Billiton are the main producers from their operation on both coasts of South Africa.
Exploration activity is picking up in Africa; in particular along the Mozambican coast, where there are several major world class reserves. Zircon is also found associated with HMS – South Africa has one of the world’s largest reserves of zircon. Potential also exists in Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Gambia.
Mining operations from Sierra Leone ceased in 1995 due to political instability in 1995. Sierra Leone used to be one of the world’s largest zircon producers.
Mining Companies active
Namakwa Sands is Anglo American’s mining and smelting operation on the West Coast north of Cape Town, South Africa. Zircon and Rutile are the main minerals mined here.
BHP Billiton has a 50% share with Rio Tinto in Richards Bay Minerals (RBM), a world class mining facility in the environmentally sensitive St Lucia area in northeast South Africa. BHP Billiton is also pursuing its TiGen project in Mozambique. Rio Tinto also has a potential deposit in Madagascar, but this has been downscaled due to poor infrastructure and bureaucracy.
Southern Mining Corporation has several well-established HMS projects in South Africa and Mozambique. The Mozambican Corridor Sands project could be Africa’s next mine, with proven reserve estimates currently at a massive 2-billion tons.
Irish Kenmare Resources are evaluating the Moma deposit in Mozambique.
Tiomin Resources could provide Kenya with much needed boost with the development of the Kwale Hill Deposit. A resource estimate of 3.1 billion tons containing 3% heavy minerals could turn Kenya into a global producer.
South African Kumba Resources has several potential deposits in Mozambique and South Africa. The Hillendale Project in South Africa is currently being developed in conjunction with Australian Ticor.