What is TiO₂ pigment

Titanium dioxide (TiO₂) pigment is a fine white powder. When used in paints, it provides for maximum whiteness and opacity. It acts as an effective opacifier in powder form, meaning it has a high ability to mask or hide the substrate underneath. It is employed as a pigment to provide whiteness and opacity to products such as paints, coatings, plastics, papers, inks, foods, medicines (i.e. pills and tablets) as well as most toothpastes. Today, titanium dioxide (TiO₂) pigment, because of its refractive index, is by far the most important material used by the paints industry for whiteness and opacity.


Making TiO₂ pigment

Titanium dioxide (TiO₂) Pigment is produced from the processing of rutile mineral sand and ilmenite based slags. However, South Africa is a net importer of the pigment and hardly benefits from the downstream processing of titanium related sources to produce pigments. More than 90% of TiO₂ feedstock such as rutile and ilmenite goes into the manufacture of Ti0₂ pigments for use in industrial coatings, paints, cosmetics, paper, plastics and other applications. The balance of the TiO₂ feedstock is used to produce titanium metal (approximately 5%), and welding fluxes (approximately 5%). Africa currently imports all its TiO₂ pigment, and yet South Africa has the 2nd largest reserves of titanium raw material which it exports to Australia, USA, Asia and Europe for further processing before re-importing it as TiO₂ pigment. The global TiO2 pigment market is a US$20 billion industry with supply and demand balance of about 6.5 million tons per year.