Mineral and silica sands are currently among the hottest commodities on the market amid rising demand and constrained supply. For explorers and major producers alike, the upturn is spurring renewed investment as Australian miners capitalise on the improved outlook.
In April, global heavyweight Rio Tinto approved development ofthe $463-million Zulti South mineral sands project in South Africa, operated by subsidiary Richards Bay Minerals (RBM). The project is expected to start construction in mid 2019 and will produce high-margin zircon, rutile and ilmenite.
‘The long-term fundamentals of the market remain strong, and production from Zulti South will commence in time to fill a widening supply gap, ensuring RBM’s position as a leader in the sector and delivering strong returns to our shareholders,’ says Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques.