After two years of construction, TiZir Grande Côte Opérations (GCO) project team handed it over to the production teams a few weeks ago. They will start mining the mineral sands dunes located along the Senegalese coast and that contain zircon and ilmenite among other things.
Mining will begin with the constitution of a heavy mineral concentrates stock which will be processed at the separation plant. The resulting products will then be carried by rail to Dakar port, where they will be shipped.
The ramp up of zircon and ilmenite production from Grande Côte Opérations will give its standing to TiZir, which also includes the Tyssedal ilmenite upgrading facility in Norway. Transformed in titanium dioxide slag, ilmenite is mainly sold to the pigment industry for its properties as a bright white pigment. As far as it is concerned, zircon is mostly used to make ceramics because of its opacity, wear resistance and hardness.