What are Mineral Sands?

sandy beach

Most sand on the beach consists of grains of the mineral quartz (SiO2). Mineral sands are old beach sands that contain concentrations of the important minerals, rutile, ilmenite, zircon and monazite. These minerals are heavy and are also called 'heavy minerals'.

The relative density of common sand minerals such as quartz is around 2.65. The heavy minerals found in mineral sands have a relative density of between 4 and 5.5.

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