Rio Tinto seeks economically-viable new technologies to increase titanium dioxide concentration in ilmenite ore from 32% to 50% or better.
Rio Tinto supplies the metals and minerals that help the world to grow. Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium (RTIT), the group originating this challenge, provides ilmenite ore containing titanium dioxide as a raw material to pigment producers. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is non-toxic, biologically inert and used as a colouring or opacity agent in paints, plastics, paper, and other materials.
In this challenge, we seek your ideas for how we can cost-effectively improve TiO2 content in our ilmenite ore (from 32% TiO2 content to 50% or better) by isolating and separating out lower quality hematite inclusions (lamellae) from the ore matrix and liberated gangue (non-valued) material. Given the scope and scale of our operations, the business opportunity for successfully solving this problem is quite large.
This two-stage challenge will provide the most compelling ideas with funding to demonstrate feasibility and may ultimately result in commercialization. In our Stage 1 Challenge, participants will submit a paper describing the proposed approach to increasing TiO2 content in ilmenite ore. Up to three (3) of the most compelling concepts will be selected to advance to Stage 2. Each Stage 1 winner will receive $50,000 USD to support their work in Stage 2, focused on demonstrating initial feasibility for the proposed approach. At the end of Stage 2, Rio Tinto will select the challenge winner and award one winner up to $200,000 to support additional development. Rio Tinto will also provide the winner with technical support and the opportunity to collaborate with their R&D scientists and engineers. Should this solution prove technically and commercially feasible, Rio Tinto may propose a follow-on agreement with the winner for commercialization, which could include licensing, co-development or other agreement as appropriate.