Old 03-10-2011, 02:15 AM
Sparty Sparty is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,124
Default Who has the most Zircon -ASX Companies

The principal economic source of zirconium is the zirconium silicate mineral, zircon (ZrSiO4).

In a remarkably similar manner to the world's supply of REE metals and oxides China dominates the downstream zirconium business at ~90%.

And as China has recently declared Zirconium as a strategic metal this invokes the possibility of a world wide supply crunch for countries previously dependent on Chinese exports...... As a result of this looming supply deficit Zircon prices have increased by 50% during 2010 to US$1,500t and has reached $2,100t in 2011 and seem to be set to go much higher.

What is not widely known is Australia's place in this situation and the reasons why a supply crunch of Zircon could or will have major implications for countries seeking to exploit nuclear energy......and our ASX listed companies with large Zircon resources.
Australia leads the world in zircon mining, producing 37% of the world total and accounting for 40% of world EDR (economic demonstrated resources) for the mineral.

Zirconium is used in nuclear fuel cladding, chemical piping in corrosive environments, heat exchangers, and various specialty alloys.

The major end uses of hafnium are in nuclear control rods, nickel-based super-alloys, nozzles for plasma arc metal cutting, and high-temperature ceramics.

N.B. Zircon is the primary source of all hafnium. Zirconium and hafnium are contained in zircon at a ratio of about 50 to 1.

Zircon is a co-product or by-product of the mining and processing of heavy-mineral sands for the titanium minerals, ilmenite and rutile, or tin minerals.

Below is a chart showing the latest resource data for ASX listed companies with very large amounts (in world terms) of proven Zircon resources. I will present similar charts for Heavy Mineral Sands, Ilmenite and the other China declared "strategic metals" over the next few weeks...

Note: ILUKA ASX: ILU is currently Australia's only Zircon producer. Alkane resources: ALK DZP H-REE and Heavy Mineral Sands will be next to come into production. And ATR is quite an oddity as its market cap and cash are ~ equal.

I hold ALK and ATR.

Read more about Australian Zircon - List of ASX companies with Zircon
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alk., atr, china, ilu, strategic metal, zircon, zirconium

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