Every year, China consumes more than 45% of the total global demand for titanium raw materials. In addition, the production of titanium sponge mentioned above accounts for one-third of the world’s total production, and the production of titanium dioxide accounts for 45% of the world’s total production. It can be said that China has become the most important part of the global titanium industry. The quality of China’s titanium market and the development of China’s titanium industry will have an important impact on the global titanium industry. In recent years, some new policies and market changes have been exerting an influence on China’s titanium industry. Faced with these influences, Chinese enterprises are making constant adjustments. In recent years, the biggest factor affecting the market is the pressure brought by environmental policies. Since 2016, the Chinese government has stepped up environmental inspections and stopped tolerating companies that emit illegal emissions. This makes each enterprise must increase the investment of environmental protection equipment. For some small and medium-sized enterprises, the capital threshold for improving environmental protection equipment is beyond their ability to bear, leading to some small and medium-sized enterprises to stop production and exit the market. In addition, some enterprises have limited waste treatment capacity, and in order to ensure compliance with emissions, these enterprises have to reduce the output of waste to match the treatment capacity. To reduce waste production, some companies are also opting for higher-quality materials, which drive up production costs.
In the process of rapid development of titanium industry in China, some problems have appeared. First of all, domestic titanium ore production growth is relatively slow, leading to a gradual increase in the dependence on imports. China’s titanium self-sufficiency rate, which peaked at 67 percent in 2014, has fallen to 58 percent. Secondly, while the demand for imported titanium ore increases, fluctuations occur in some major import source countries, leading to the lack of stable raw material supply for some downstream enterprises, which has affected production. The instability of raw material supply has a negative impact on product quality and production cost of titanium dioxide enterprises. In addition, the quality of imported titanium ore has been decreasing in recent years. Among them, the decline of TiO2 content leads to the decline of production efficiency of titanium dioxide enterprises, and also brings more waste production. After 2016, China’s environmental protection requirements have been significantly strengthened, and the increase of waste products has caused great pressure on titanium dioxide enterprises, and some enterprises in some regions have reduced or temporarily stopped production due to emission problems. However, the decrease of TiO2 content is generally accompanied by the increase of impurity element content, which also causes the quality of downstream products to be affected. Downstream enterprises need to invest more costs in production to eliminate the impact.
As China’s demand for titanium materials increases rapidly, more and more companies are investing in mines overseas. At present, Africa is the most concentrated area for Chinese enterprises to invest, and Australia is also a non-ideal place for investment. There are some ideal titanium mine projects around Perth that are under development. We also hope to see more successful cases of cooperation and win-win cooperation with Chinese enterprises. In China, however, due to the huge demand caused by the future chlorination project, some enterprises are developing new technologies to allow more low-grade titanium ore to be processed to meet the requirements of the production of chlorinated titanium dioxide, thereby increasing the value of low-grade titanium ore. If such technology is successfully industrialized, it will solve China’s raw material dilemma. So far, China’s demand for titanium raw materials is dominated by sulfuric acid titanium ore, but the future growth point is titanium chloride ore, rutile and other raw materials. China’s domestic titanium ore components cannot be used as raw materials for chlorination, and almost all rely on imports, which is the fundamental reason why China is trying to develop new technologies to change the applicability of titanium ore. Until new technologies emerge, China’s future demand for raw materials for chlorination is bound to push up prices further.