Ilmenite is a heavy mineral that is found on the southern coastal region in India, mostly Tamil Nadu. In the year 2012, Tamil Nadu was the leading producer of ilmenite contributing 52% of production overall. It is mined from the beaches of Tamil Nadu. The sand is manually picked up from the shores and transported to the mining plants. From there it goes through various separation processes and the end result is pure ilmenite. This pure form of ilmenite is then exported to different companies.
Ilmenite has various industrial uses. It’s used in making pastel shades of paints. It’s mainly used for manufacturing of ferro-titanium and synthetic Rutile. It’s also used making white walled tyres, glazed papers, plastics, printed fabrics, flooring materials like linoleum, pharmaceuticals, soaps face powders and other cosmetic products. They are also used in toothpastes to increase their brightness.
In addition to that, they are also used in welding electrodes, for processing of graded steel, in manufacture of high quality photo grey sun glasses, in the field of aerospace and water purification.
Ilmenite mining is not just conducted to acquire ilmenite. In the mining process there are several other minerals that are acquired too. Like Rutile, Zircon and Garnet. Garnet mining has a lot of importance in India as well. In 2010, India was the chief exporter of Garnet all over the world. Rutile mining is basically conducted for the titanium needs. Zircon mining is on the top because Zircon Is the most abundant mineral found in the beach sands of Tamil Nadu.