TESTS done on zircon indicate the sand is not corrosive to metal and can be safely shipped, the Zircon Industry Association says.

The conclusion was on the basis of zircon being transported according to International Maritime Organization standards.

ZIA published the industry position paper after “an independent test” done by global consulting and advisory firm, DEKRA Insight.

The test, carried out during a seven-day period in February, concluded there was 0% mass loss on steel, with no observed surface pitting.

Therefore, zircon sand is deemed not to be a corrosive solid bulk material.

The IMO Solid Bulk Cargoes Code requires material carried in bulk to be tested for corrosivity to metals.

However, the specified test was developed for liquids and not validated for solids.


Refinements to this test were developed after a research program by a Global Industry Alliance, with IMO member states Australia, Brazil, Canada and the USA proposing amendments.

ZIA executive director Dr Keven Harlow said the test result showed conclusively that bulk zircon sand was not corrosive to metal.

“Our industry position paper including this test data can be used by our members and relevant authorities to ensure that zircon sand continues to be shipped safely and effectively across the globe,” Dr Harlow said.

“Zircon is an essential material in our modern world, and is used in everything from ceramic tiles, to electronic equipment, nuclear reactors, medical implants and jet engines.”

A summary of the test results can be found in the Industry Position Paper and a full copy of the DEKRA Insight test report is available to ZIA members and relevant maritime authorities.

Zircon is an imported mineral sands, exported from Australia via such ports as Portland in Victoria.