2011 review of zirconium
Mining Engineering, 2012, Vol. 64, No. 7, pp. 57-57
Zirconium is the 20th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust and it most often occurs in the form of silicate (as zircon), less often in the oxide form (as baddeleyite or caldesite). Historically, the world’s production of zircon was entirely derived from mining and processing beach sands or heavy mineral sands that were being exploited primarily for their titanium content, i.e., to generate TiO2 feedstocks that would be used for making titanium pigments and, to a lesser extent, titanium metal. Zircon was then regarded as a byproduct, with the sharply fluctuating prices typical of a commodity where the supply is essentially involuntary and not truly responsive to market demand.