Argex Titanium’s Titanium Dioxide Production Plant, Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada


Argex Titanium has proposed to construct its first commercial scale titanium dioxide (TiO2) production plant in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada.

The proposed plant will have a coated and uncoated TiO2 pigment production capacity of 50,000t per annum, which is expected to be ramped up in later phases.

The feasibility study for the project started in October 2012 and the technical due diligence report regarding the project financing was completed in February 2015. Overall project cost is estimated to reach $265.1m.

Strategic location of Argex Titanium's first commercial TiO2 plant

DuPont is currently involved in construction activities to add another new train of titanium dioxide (TiO2) production facility at its Altamira site in Mexico.

The proposed site will cover an area of approximately one million square feet in the Valleyfield Port area. Offer to purchase the land was signed with the City of Valleyfield in July 2014, which was approved in September 2014. The land is expected to be acquired in June 2015.

The titanium dioxide production facility will house a new building, contrary to the earlier proposal to renovate and modify an existing 235,000ft2 building at 1300 Gérard-Cadieux Blvd, for which Argex signed a binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Valleyfield Enterprises in April 2013.

Added advantages were the reason for choosing the new site. It provides reduced construction risk, scope for increasing the building height, flexibility for equipment layout, proximity to a rail spur, a local CSX rail terminal, Port of Valleyfield, and to a major chemical feedstock provider, as well as providing reduced operating cost and unchanged construction timeline.

Feedstock and processing technology details

TiO2 is used as a white pigment in paint (58%), plastic (22%), paper (9%), specialties (3%), inks (3%), fibres (2%), rubber (2%), and food and pharmaceuticals (1%). The product is weather-resistant, durable, and abrasion-resistant.

Initial feedstock selected for the project is the less expensive sulphate-grade ilmenite concentrate. The plant will use Argex' proprietary CTL hydrometallurgical process. The closed-loop process produces TiO2 through a single process directly from the ore material. It operates at atmospheric pressure and low temperature.

The closed-loop design enables the plant to be energy-efficient and environment-friendly, producing minimal by-products and emissions. It further allows the plant to use very low levels of hydrochloric acid in the production process.

Marketing and supply agreements

Argex signed a long term agreement with Helm US Corp in August 2014 to market and supply approximately 25,000t (50% of the capacity) of TiO2 from the project in the US and Canada over a period of seven years starting from 2017.

Argex further signed a letter of intent (LoI) with PVS Chemicals and its subsidiary Fanchem to distribute 100% of the iron by-products from the project.

Contractors involved

"The proposed plant will have a coated and uncoated TiO2 pigment production capacity of 50,000t per annum."

The project feasibility study was performed by WSP Global (formerly Genivar), the environmental study was performed by Aecom and the financial model was prepared by Ernst & Young.

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, valued at $200m, was awarded to Tecnicas Reunidas Group (TR) in March 2015.

Initially, The EPC contract involves the execution of the front end engineering design (FEED), followed by a detailed design and construction phase. The FEED studies are expected to commence following the grant of required approvals by Argex, which are expected in June 2015.

Marketing commentary for Argex Titanium

Argex Titanium, headquartered in Quebec, Canada, was originally incorporated under the Canada Business Corporations Act in March 2005 under the name Argex Silver Capital / Capital Argex Argent. Its name was changed to Argex Mining / Les Mines Argex in July 2010 and further to Argex Titanium / Argex Titane in July 2012.

The company operates an R&D centre situated in Valleyfield and currently has 25 full-time employees.

NRI Energy Technology