Titanium Ilmenite Ore Sample

Titanium Range? Breakthrough could lead to new kind of mining in NE Minn.

Originally posted by Minnesota Public Radio News

For well over a century, miners have clawed huge amounts of iron ore out of the red earth of northeastern Minnesota. Other companies are hoping to tap into the region’s rich deposits of copper, nickel and precious metals.

Now, scientists believed they’ve unlocked the key that could lead to another kind of mining in the region.

Researchers with the Natural Resources Research Institute, an arm of the University of Minnesota Duluth, announced Thursday they’ve demonstrated on a pilot-scale a new technique to separate high-purity titanium oxide from a mineral called ilmenite.

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Press Conference

Titanium pilot project on Range dubbed success

Originally posted by the Duluth News Tribune

Scientists say they’ve successfully turned an abundant Minnesota mineral called ilmenite into valuable titanium dioxide in a pilot-scale demonstration project on the Iron Range.

The announcement Thursday comes one year after the Natural Resources Research Institute of the University of Minnesota Duluth received $600,000 in grants for the pilot project that some scientists say could lead to a breakthrough in new mineral development to rival the iron ore mined here for more than a century.

The News Tribune first reported in early 2016 that ilmenite, an iron-titanium compound, had been confirmed in large deposits in the region. Scientists now say the Minnesota mineral can be successfully processed into titanium dioxide, which is used in dozens of consumer products such as paints, and which can be further refined into titanium steel, one of the strongest substances on Earth.

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