Alkane Resource: Zirconium
Zirconium is corrosion-resistant metal used in a wide variety of engineering, industrial and everyday applications – including the auto exhaust catalyst, electronics, engineering and refractory ceramic, nuclear, optical glass and alloys industries.
Zirconium materials are typically traded as:
- fused zirconia – zirconium oxide (ZrO2), typically produced from zirconium silicate (zirconia sands)
- zirconium chemicals – including zirconium oxychloride (ZOC), zirconium basic carbonate (ZBC), zirconium sulfate (AZST) and zirconium hydroxide (ZHO)
- zirconium bar – metallic zirconium, typically produced from either fused zirconia or zirconium chemicals.
The source of zirconium at the Dubbo Project (DP) is a hydrous zirconium silicate mineral that offers an important new source of zirconium materials that is unrelated to titanium mineral sands operations, which have traditionally produced zirconium materials as a valuable by-product. The project will produce a range of particularly high-purity zirconium materials (99.9%), owing to the recovery of hafnium from the process stream (Hafnium is always found in zirconium minerals, but is rarely recovered except for nuclear applications). The DP’s high-purity zirconium ‘strip liquor’ will be converted to downstream zirconium chemicals (including reactive grades of ZBC), zirconia and other speciality zirconias (such as a yttria-stablised zirconia product).
The project will produce an estimated 16,374tpa of high-purity (99.9%) zirconium materials as ZBC and zirconia.
For more information on how Zirconium is used, click on the image below.