Sustainable titanium mining in Vietnam

The RENO-TITAN project investigates radioactive residues in mineral sands and their re-processing - First meeting between project partners and G.E.O.S.

The southern Vietnamese province of Binh Thuan is not only known for its dragon fruit plantations, but also for its huge dune landscapes of white and red sand. These dunes are home to a special raw material: heavy sands with minerals containing titanium and zirconium. These mineral sands are the focus of the BMBF-funded RENO-TITAN research project.

With G.E.O.S., German experts from Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences as coordinating partner and IAF Radioökologie GmbH are working together with Vietnamese experts from the Industrial University and the Institute of Public Health in Ho Chi Minh City and the Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology in Hanoi.


The scientific topics of the project in this context are

  • Are the residues from the mining of heavy sands radioactively contaminated?
  • To what extent can the sand be reused in the sense of a circular economy and at the same time reduce the pressure on urgently needed primary raw materials such as sand?
  • If safe utilisation is not possible, then how can they be disposed of safely?
  • What occupational health and safety issues arise?
  • And, more generally, how can "responsible mining" be organised? These are also interesting aspects for companies involved in open-cast titanium mining.

The German partners' first visit to Vietnam took place in September 2023. After the successful kick-off meeting in Hanoi, the RENO-TITAN partners, equipped with a GPS device and scintillator, spent several hours in an opencast titanium mine in Binh Thuan province and followed the extraction, concentration and purification of the heavy sand minerals. The scintillator was used to measure the local dose rate at the workplace, i.e. the radiation dose per unit of time that affects people from outside.

A visit by a Vietnamese delegation to Germany is planned for the coming year in order to further discuss the focal points of the RENO-TITAN project. Among other things, experiments are planned in an environmental radiology laboratory, sharing of experience on dealing with residues of naturally occurring radioactive substances and a visit to a manufacturer of white pigments based on titanium dioxide.

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the CLIENT II initiative.

More information on this project: RENO-TITAN