Mineral sand deposits contain a concentrated amount of economically important minerals known as ‘heavy minerals’, which are much heavier than common sand minerals such as quartz. Deposits contain zircon, rutile, leucoxene, ilmenite, monazite, and xenotime.
Mineral sands have a number of uses including in paints, paper, plastics, sunscreens, tiles and joint replacements.
China is the biggest consumer of mineral sands, with Australia being a major producer accounting for 32% of the world’s share of ilmenite (titanium) resources, 62% of rutile resources, and 68% of global zircon resources.
There is no widely used public exchange for mineral sands as the spot price is determined by discrete transactions between buyers and sellers. We recommend that investors show caution when analysing spot prices as it is an opaque market.