The global paint and coatings industry reached more than $90 billion in 2010. Economists say that the industry is flourishing, expecting it to record a CAGR of 3.2 percent by the mid-point of the decade to $116.4 billion.
The industry remains an essential aspect of the entire industrial market, as it accounts for 22 percent of its total volume. On a global scope, its importance remains irrefutable, as every economy, whatever its size, needs paint for their infrastructure development and manufacturing industry.
Paint manufacturers rely heavily on titanium dioxide (rutile) to give their products the richness, whiteness, brightness, and opacity they need.
Although rutile was first discovered in 1821, paints with titanium dioxide component were only made commercially available for industrial purposes in 1916. Further developments were introduced, making titanium dioxide an indispensable paint ingredient. By the early 1920s, two major giant paint producers in the world—Titan Co. AS (Norway) and Titanium Pigment Corporation of Niagara Falls (USA)—were already producing paints with titanium dioxide for their customers across the globe.
Titanium dioxide has a high refractive index that gives lustre to the paint. It gives the paint higher opacity and gloss that other pigments cannot. This is also why most paint makers use 70 percent of titanium dioxide to their products, leaving the remaining 30 percent for other pigments (calcium carbonate and iron oxide) and binders (resin, dispersants, and silicones).
For years now, researchers and scientists have been focusing on titanium dioxide’s unexplored capabilities to develop better and more long-lasting coating products.
Rutile also plays an important role in the recent innovations in the paint and coatings industry. The new water-resistant sprays invented by UCL researchers is made with coated titanium dioxide nanoparticles, giving the painted product 400 percent higher anti-corrosion capabilities and saving consumers from future repainting.
On the market side
Fuelling the dynamic paint and coatings market is the rutile mining industry. The titanium dioxide market, which is now enjoying a 3.6 percent growth from 2013, will continue to grow in the following years.
Supply will remain intact, despite several problems in the sector in giant mining countries like Sierra Leone and Ukraine. Emerging rutile mining firms like White Mountain Titanium Corporation (OTCQB:WMTM), which is behind the discovery of 17,041 hectares rutile deposit in Santiago, Chile, will help to stabilize the demand segment, especially demands coming from various paints and coatings companies.
From a practical and realistic standpoint, it would be difficult to imagine that the paint and coatings market will end up insignificant in the future. Paint is synonymous to progress—every structure erected, product manufactured, and transportation system built, there comes ‘paint’ in the picture. Without paint, everything will be colorless, which is rather dull.
Thanks to the growing rutile market, we see no signs of having washed-out cities and boring supermarket items in the future.