Titanium’s outstanding corrosion resistance and strength-to-weight ratio mean it has few suitable substitutes; this combined with sharp price increases in recent years is encouraging greater use of scrap metal in the titanium supply chain.
Titanium is a silvery-grey metal with a remarkable strength-to-weight ratio and excellent corrosion resistance.1https://www.tdi-sustainability.com Pure titanium is highly ductile and has low conductivity, which means that it is frequently used in aerospace and military applications, as well as to produce medical prostheses and dental implants.2https://www.tdi-sustainability.com The vast majority of titanium is refined into titanium dioxide (TiO2) and is most commonly alloyed with iron, molybdenum and vanadium, particularly in steel manufacture, and with aluminium to produce gamma titanium aluminides.3https://www.tdi-sustainability.com4https://www.tdi-sustainability.com Titanium dioxide can be used for industrial and chemical applications such as manufacturing paper, pigments, plastics and personal care products.
Titanium-containing minerals are widely distributed in the Earth’s crust and titanium is primarily derived from ilmenite and rutile ores, with more than 90% of global titanium supply being derived from ilmenite reserves.5https://www.tdi-sustainability.com China is the world’s leading producer of TiO2-containing mineral concentrates, accounting for 36% of global production from ilmenite and rutile, followed by Mozambique (13%) and South Africa (10%).6https://www.tdi-sustainability.com Significant ilmenite reserves can be found in China, Australia, India, Mozambique, Norway, Canada, and South Africa,7https://www.tdi-sustainability.com with major reserves of rutile located in the United States, Australia, and South Africa.
Main Uses and Attributes
Titanium is classed as a transition metal in the periodic table of elements. More than 95% of global supply is in the form of titanium dioxide, a bright white pigment extensively used to manufacture paints, coatings, inks, plastics, paper, and cosmetics due to its attractive and reflective properties. Smaller quantities of titanium ore are used to produce titanium metal and welding electrodes.8https://www.tdi-sustainability.com
Titanium metal has remarkable physical properties. Only a few other metals are able to compete with its strength-to-weight ratio, such as aluminium and magnesium alloys, and it also exhibits outstanding corrosion resistance and resilience to high temperatures.9https://www.tdi-sustainability.com Titanium alloys therefore play a major role in components manufacture in the aerospace, maritime, and automotive industries, and are also used in medical and dental applications due to their non-reactive and non-toxic properties. Furthermore, many surgical instruments are made of titanium due to its compatibility with human tissue, and its high resistance to corrosion is advantageous for constructing desalination and power plants.
Supply Chain Risk
TDi assesses Titanium for key risks affecting the security of supply, and for its association with artisanal and small-scale mining.
Country Governance Risks
Titanium's association with countries experiencing:
Association with ESG issues
TDi Sustainability's data rates Titanium's association with the following issues as high or very high: