Zircon is separated from heavy mineral concentrate at the mineral separation plants at Tronox’s Chandala, KZN Sands and Namakwa Sands operations.
Ceramics is the main application for zircon. The opacifying properties and whiteness together with abrasion and moisture resistance make it a key ingredient in ceramic tiles, sanitary ware and tableware.
Zircon is also used in refractory applications to protect the interior of high-temperature furnaces, as well as in foundries and precision investment casting processes for the casting of metals and alloys into various products. These high-temperature applications require the thermal stability, high melting point and abrasion resistance provided by zircon.
Another important application is the production of a broad range of zirconia chemicals, which in turn, have a diverse range of end uses including ceramics, refractory, catalysts, coating electronics and biomedical related products.
Some zircon is used as an x-ray filter and as a polishing agent in the production of silicon wafers for the manufacture of semiconductor components such as integrated circuits (computer chips).
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