Located almost at the end of the Hardangerfjord on the west coast of Norway, the TiZir Titanium and Iron (TTI) ilmenite upgrading facility has been producing titanium slag and high purity pig iron (HPPI) since 1986. It is the only such facility in Europe and only one of five in the world. The current capacity is 230ktpa of titanium slag and 100ktpa of high purity pig iron.
Local availability of ilmenite and access to competitively priced hydro power
Ilmenite is the key raw material used, which is mainly sourced from Grande Cote Operations in Senegal.
Power is sourced from a nearby hydroelectric power plant. By virtue of a long-term leasing arrangement pricing is defined for around two-thirds of power consumed.
Why upgrade ilmenite?
The titanium slag is predominantly sold to pigment producers. The pigment producers themselves are only interested in the titanium dioxide (TiO2) contained in their feedstocks. The lower the TiO2 content of the feedstock and correspondingly the higher the impurities content, the greater the waste products that are generated during the pigment manufacture which leads to potential environmental challenges and associated costs.
The smelting process in Tyssedal involves the reduction of the iron oxides from the ilmenite with everything else reporting to the slag. The separation of the iron lifts the titanium dioxide content from approximately 54% in the ilmenite to approximately 87% in the slag.
High purity pig iron – a valuable co-product
The high purity pig iron produced as part of the smelting process (which is renowned for the low phosphorus and sulphur contents) is sold to a varied and large number of customers, and includes windmill, automotive and engine parts, as well as tools and heavy castings.
Potential for future expansion
The security of the additional ilmenite supply that will be available through Grande Côte, provides TiZir Titanium and Iron with extra flexibility and expansion opportunities.
How ilmenite is processed
A) Quay – Vessels arrive with raw materials
B) Coal Storage – Coal is discharged by conveyor belts to the storage area
C) Ilmenite Storage – Ilmenite is transported by conveyor belts and stored in concrete silos
D) Pre-reduction Plant – Ilmenite is pelletised and pre-reduced in a kiln
E) Filters – Gasses and fine particles produced in the kiln are removed in cyclones and electrostatic precipitators
F) Smelter – Pre-reduced pellets from the kiln are smelted in a three phase arc furnace. Molten iron is collected at the bottom of the smelter and titanium rich slag is tapped from above the iron phase
G) Continuous Casting Machine – Iron is tapped from the furnace into 80 ton ladles and refined to specific qualities before being cast into ingots
H) Crushing Plant – Crushing and screening of titanium rich slag takes place
I) Silos for Finished Slag – The crushed slag is stored in five concrete silos with total capacity of 43,000 metric tons
J) Slag Shipping – From the silos the slag is transported by conveyor belts to vessels for bulk shipping
K) Pig Iron Shipping – The pig iron is shipped in container loads