This post is by Govind Bhutada from Visual Capitalist
Asia’s Dominance in the Titanium Supply Chain
Titanium is a unique metal with important applications in defense, aerospace, automotives, and medicine.
But before making it into all its end uses, titanium goes through a complex supply chain that involves both geopolitical and environmental challenges.
This infographic sponsored by IperionX explores the titanium supply chain and highlights the countries that dominate it.
The Stages of Titanium Production
Titanium’s end-to-end production process typically involves five steps:
- Mineral extraction
The minerals ilmenite and rutile are the primary feedstocks for titanium production. These minerals are partly composed of titanium dioxide, which is later refined into titanium metal.
- Sponge metal production
Ilmenite and rutile are refined into titanium sponge using the Kroll refining process.
- Ingots and melted products
Titanium sponge is melted into ingots and other melted products.
- Mill products
Finished products like bars, sheets, and tubes are manufactured from ingots. This process typically generates large amounts of machining scrap.
Scrap or waste accounts for large material losses in the supply chain. The current scrap recirculation rate is less than 70%.
The Kroll process of refining titanium minerals to produce sponge metal is an 80-year-old method that involves high energy use and carbon emissions. It’s also heavily dependent on a few countries, primarily in Asia.
The Titanium Supply Chain
The mineral ilmenite accounts for 90% of all titanium (Read more...)