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.