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What is Zirconia? Page 1 of 4
Zirconium dioxide (ZrO2), also known as zirconium oxide and zirconia, is commercially available in two basic forms: naturally, as the mineral Baddeleyite, and synthetically, as derived from zircon sand (ZrSiO4).

Historically, the largest source of the mineral Baddeleyite was from South Africa, then the by-product of commercial copper, uranium, and phosphate mining. Lesser deposits of Baddeleyite can be found in Russia & Brasil. These sources are not considered as viable as the South African source due to higher levels of impurities & trace radioactive constituents.

Unfortunately, Baddeleyite availability worldwide has declined dramatically with the cessation of mining activities in the South African location. Total tonnages are now very low and this has effectively eliminated Baddeleyite as a meaningful source of zirconium dioxide in the world marketplace. Synthetic zirconia now makes up the majority of the worlds supply.

The total consumption of all zirconia was last estimated to be about 36,000 MT annually. There is substantial installed capacity for the manufacture of synthetic zirconias, and abundant supplies of the zircon raw material, as well.

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