Pig Iron Production By The Ilmenite Smelting Route

Ilmenite is a weakly magnetic titanium-iron oxide mineral which is iron-black or steel-gray. It is a crystalline iron titanium oxide (FeTiO3). It crystallizes in the trigonal system. The ilmenite crystal structure is an ordered derivative of the corundum structure; in corundum all cations are identical but in ilmenite Fe2+ and Ti4+ ions occupy alternating layers perpendicular to the trigonal c axis.

Producers of titanium dioxide slag in Canada, South Africa, and Norway smelt ilmenite (FeTiO3) in electric Furnaces at temperatures ranging from 1650-1700° C, using either coal or another carbonaceous material as reductant.  Titanium dioxide slag is largely used as a raw material for producing white pigment, mostly for the paint and plastics industries.

Basic reactions in ilmenite smelting are:

Reduction of FeO from slag

FeO + C→ Fe + CO

Partial reduction of TiO2 from slag

TiO2 + 1/2 C→ TiO1.5 + 1/2 C


1 “Ilmenite smelting: the basics” by P.C. Pistorius, a paper first presented at SAIMM Conference on Heavy Minerals, 10-14 September 2007); published by South African Insitute of Mining & Metallurgy, 2008, SA ISSN 0038-223X/3.00+0.00
2 (http://www.saimm.co.za/Conferences/HMC2007/075-84_Pistorius.pdf)
3 Wikipedia.org