US-based mineral sands company Tronox is eyeing a $220 million expansion of its operations in WA with two new mines planned for Cataby and Dongara north of Perth.

The investment, which is expected to generate 110 construction jobs, is aimed at sustaining Tronox’s operations in WA with the two new mines feeding its Chandala dry mill and synthetic rutile plant near Muchea and its titanium dioxide pigment plant at Kwinana.

Local managers at Tronox declined to comment yesterday but the State Government advised it had introduced legislation into Parliament to vary a State agreement to allow the two mines to go ahead.

Tronox’s existing operations are fed by its Cooljarloo mineral sands mine west of Cataby. The new mines are subject to final investment decisions by Tronox.

Its website says Tronox’s WA operations represent the world’s biggest integrated titanium dioxide project.

It said the operations generated $900 million in annual exports, delivered $7 million in royalties to the State Government, employed 800 full-time and contract staff in WA and spent $250 million locally on goods and services.

The Muchea plant processes ilmenite from its Cataby mine by upgrading its titanium dioxide content to produce synthetic rutile.

Some synthetic rutile is exported and the remainder transferred to the Kwinana plant to be converted into titanium dioxide. Before 2011, the company’s WA operations were known as Tiwest and operated as a joint venture with South Africa’s Exxaro.

Yesterday Exxaro sold down its stake in Tronox from 39 per cent to 24 per cent, netting $US474 million.