In a bid to enhance titanium output, the Department of Space in collaboration with KMML has set up a 500 tonne per annum (TPA) titanium sponge plant in Kerala, the government said today.
Titanium sponge is known for its high strength but low weight, making it an ideal material for aircraft manufacture, including fighter aircraft besides it is sued in nuclear plants, engine parts, ocean platforms, reactors, manufacture of dental implants and artificial bones.
"Department of Space in collaboration with Kerala Minerals & Metals Ltd (KMML) has set up a 500 tonne per annum titanium sponge plant (TSP) at KMML's facility in Chavara Kerala," Minister of State for Mines and Steel Vishnu Deo Sai informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
Sai said the country has an estimated 394 million tonnes of titanium ore reserves and the government was focusing on enhancing the production capacity.
The TSP is a joint venture of KMML, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) and the VSSC has fully funded the Rs 143 crore TSP project.
Sai said the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Hyderabad has a pilot plant of 4 tonne per annum (TPA) capacity to produce titanium sponge.
Besides, the facility available at Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd has the potential to produce 300 TPA of metal, he said.
India exported titanium ores and concentrates worth Rs 1,041 crore in 2014-14 and the rest of the supply was absorbed in domestic use, he added.