Business Briefs

Firm seeks to mine titanium in Halifax County

Posted May 13, 2011 3:38 p.m. EDT

— An Australian firm is looking into the possibility of mining titanium in Halifax County.

Iluka Resources bills itself as the second-largest producer of titanium minerals and the world’s largest producer of zircon.The company has been mining in southeastern Virginia since 1998.

"The economics of developing an operation in Halifax County has always been of interest, but the combination of infrastructure already established in Virginia and 13 years of operation and reclamation experience best positions Iluka to make this opportunity a reality," company President Matt Blackwell said in a statement.

Iluka representatives plan to secure leases to land in the Aurelian Springs area for exploration, which company officials said is necessary to determine the feasibility of local mining. The proposed location would be between Aurelian Springs and Roanoke Rapids, east of N.C. Highway 48 and west of Heathsville/Piney Grove Church Road.

Titanium is used predominately in paint, but is commonly associated with products like golf clubs, airplanes, and medical applications like artificial joints, pacemakers, and braces.

Without the development of Aurelian Springs, the U.S. will be relying on foreign countries to supply titanium within eight years, Iluka officials said.