Zirconium silicate, commonly known as Zircon, is one of two core product streams of mineral sands, which is a relatively small volume industry within the resources sector. Mineral sands deposits are characterised by their grade and relative proportion of valuable heavy minerals components of zircon and titanium dioxide minerals including rutile and ilmenite among others.
Zircon has become an important industrial heavy mineral due to its thermal stability, high corrosion resistance and reflective properties. More than 50% of global zircon production is consumed by the ceramics industry for the production of sanitary ware (toilets, basins), wall tiles, dinnerware, glazed bricks and industrial tiles. Iluka is the world's largest producer of zircon and accounts for almost one third of global zircon production. Rio Tinto is another big player in the zircon market and together they accounted for more than 50% of zircon production in 2015.