Chemours adds to titanium mining, processing operations

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Chemours titanium plant in Mexico. Chemours photo.

The Chemours Company is adding to its titanium mining and processing operations.

The Wilmington company acquired Southern Ionics Minerals, LLC, an exploration, mining, and manufacturing company based in Jacksonville, FL. SIM was a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Ionics Incorporated, a privately held chemical manufacturer based in West Point, MS. Selling price was $25 million.

Southern mines and processes titanium and zirconium mineral sands from a similar geological formation as those produced by Chemours at the company’s existing mineral sands mine in Florida.

The acquisition includes a mineral sands processing plant in Offerman, GA an existing mine site in Charlton County GA and administrative offices in Jacksonville, FL.

SIM had earlier worked with Chemours to mine a mineral sand deposit in Wayne County. The mine site is on private property currently used to grow commercial timber. As the mining progresses through the site, the land will be reclaimed and restored back to productive timberland.

Bryan Snell, president of the Titanium Technologies business for Chemours, said the SIM assets complement the company’s long-term business goals.

“When we announced plans to begin operations at a new mineral sands mine site in Jesup, GA, we partnered with SIM to process the sands on our behalf. Their facilities for separating and processing the minerals were essential to our growth plans,” Snell stated.

“But more importantly, SIM has a track record that demonstrates their strong commitment of being a responsible steward of the land and a good neighbor to the communities in which they operate,” Snell stated. “Their values of trust and integrity are closely aligned with our corporate value of unshakable integrity and our corporate responsibility commitments. We are proud to have SIM and its employees as part of our mining operations business,” he added.

Chemours has the unique capability of producing its Ti-Pure brand of titanium dioxide from a wide variety of ores.

In acquiring the SIM assets, the company will have additional access to large, high-value ilmenite ore deposits to produce titanium dioxide pigments.

Having access to these internally produced ores delivers advantages for the business and provides a stable and predictable cost structure for customers, supporting the company’s Ti-Pure Value Stabilization (TVS) strategy of investing in building capacity and product innovation, while fostering enduring, value-oriented customer relationships, the release noted.

The titanium oxide business is cyclical, with Chemours and predecessor DuPont seeing wide swings in earnings from the business. The long-running Edgemoor titanium oxide was closed and demolished as part of a cost-cutting effort. The site on the Delaware River was sold to the State of Delaware and is slated to become a container port for Gulftainer, a company that signed a long-term lease for the Port of Wilmington.

Snell noted that Chemours has mined mineral sands in Florida for more than 70 years “The outstanding environmental stewardship and strong local community support that has been the foundation of SIM’s mining operations in Georgia is an important marker of the synergy between the two companies, he stated.

With this transaction completed, SIM becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Chemours Company and will be integrated into existing Chemours operations.

Chemours’ Ti-Pure is widely used in sunscreens and coatings.

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