The principal components of heavy mineral sands are rutile (TiO2), ilmenite (FeTiO3), zircon (ZrSiO4) and monazite ([Ce,La,Th]PO4).
Minor amounts of xenotime (YPO4) a yttrium-bearing phosphate hosting 54 to 65% rare earth oxides (REO), and comprising other rare earth elements (REE) such as erbium and cerium, and thorium. Rutile, ilmenite, leucoxene (an alteration product of ilmenite) are used predominantly in the production of titanium dioxide pigment. The titanium-bearing minerals rutile and leucoxene are sometimes blended to produce HiTi (High grade titanium with a TiO2 content of 70% to 95%) which is used as a feedstock to produce titanium dioxide, make titanium metals for the aerospace industry and in the manufacture of welding rods. Less than 4% of total titanium mineral production, typically rutile, is used in making titanium sponge metal. Zircon is used as an opacifier for glazes on ceramic tiles, in refractories and for the foundry industry. Recently there has been renewed interest in monazite as a source of thorium for possible use to generate electricity in thorium nuclear reactors.
*More information can be found on the Geoscience Australia website here.