The Titan Mill in 1960 (AOT, PH30/1/9049)

Australian Titan Products Pty Ltd (the name changed to Tioxide Australia in 1972), a wholly owned subsidiary of British Titan Products Limited England, commenced operation in 1949 at Heybridge near Burnie. The factory initially produced 1500 tons of titanium dioxide pigment per year, increasing to over 35,000 tons by 1988. Employment figures ranged from 100 to a maximum of about 450. Titanium dioxide is a non-toxic white pigment used mainly in paint. The Burnie site was chosen because of the availability of sulphuric acid, cheap electricity, local coal, water and access to the deep-water port of Burnie. The site also allowed direct discharge of effluents into Bass Strait. Economic factors caused closure of the plant in 1996, and the factory was demolished by 1998. Extensive site rehabilitation is ongoing.

Merv Summers