In beach sand and alluvial deposits, titanium, rare earths and zirconium minerals often occur in association with radioactive uranium and thorium isotopes. After processing the ore, these isotopes may then show up as trace constituents in the heavy mineral concentrates or final products (ilmenite, leucoxene, rutile and zircon), which need to be transported to the customer by road, rail or sea, and most often crossing borders.
Any material with a threshold value above 1 Becquerel per gram is classified by the UN as a Class 7 "radioactive material" subject to certain regulations on handling and shipment. The threshold value for such regulations is even lower in some jurisdictions, and there is a tendency for the regulations to become tighter still. Therefore, producers, traders, importers, shippers and customers of mineral sands (and co-products, such as xenotime and monazite) need to be well advised as to how to comply with the legal complexities during transport and in ports.
Orano TN (formerly Areva TN, headquartered in Paris) is a global leader in nuclear logistics, with more than 50 years' experience and has long-established partnerships and a worldwide network for assuring the safe and compliant transport of Class 7 materials. In this presentation, we will discuss the challenges facing the mineral sands industry and propose workable solutions.