Ilmenite

Ilmenite (FeTiO3) is a weakly magnetic iron-black or steel-gray mineral found in metamorphic and plutonic igneous rocks. Although named after the locality of its discovery in the Il'menski Mountains, near Miass, Russia, most of the ilmenite mined is, however, recovered from secondary sources such as beach sands. It composed of an iron titanium oxide in crystalline form.

 

                  

 

             Photos of Ilmenite  associated with quartz

 

The majority of the ilmenite mined is used as a raw material for pigment production. The product here is titanium dioxide, which is an extremely white substance used as a base in high quality paint. It is commonly massive, but also occurs in rhombohedral crystals. In the beach sands it is normally found as rounded particles with a diameter of betweem 0.1 and 0.2 mm.

 

Lunar ilmenite: Ilmenite is found in the rocks on the Moon and in 2005, NASA used the Hubble Space Telescope to locate potentially ilmenite-rich locations. This mineral could be essential to an eventual moon base; ilmenite would provide a source for iron and titanium for structural purposes and essential oxygen could be extracted as well.

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