So what is ilmenite? It’s a titanium-iron oxide mineral with a blackish colour, that, commercially, can provide useful titanium dioxide powder used in toothpastes, detergents, paint and many other products.
“The majority of the material goes to the pigment industry,” Gunnar Vinterstø, mine assistant at Tellnes, said. “We extract up to 890,000 m3 (1.16 million cubic yards) of the material every per year.”
This corresponds to seven percent of the entire world’s production of ilmenite. But arriving at Titania’s mine it seems hard to believe. Could these grey-black mountains actually provide the world with one of the world’s most common whitening agents? It’s as easy to believe as if someone would like to clean your white shirt with a lump of coal. The explanation is much more simple, the finely ground titanium dioxide powder does in fact become white when processed.