Hackaday’s Mining and Refining series has been going since 2021, where they’ve looked at various metals and minerals that have shaped our world and how they are extracted and made into usable produce.
Their latest instalment examines titanium and the best ways to mine and refine it. tl;dr – use sand, heat, and thermite. Oh, and it’s bad for the environment either:
Almost nothing about the mining and refining of titanium is environmentally friendly. Huge energy inputs are needed all along the way, from the fossil fuels needed to harvest and prepare the ore to the electricity needed to run the vacuum arc furnaces and recycle the magnesium chloride. Unfortunately, there aren’t many points in the process that are amenable to the green treatment, thanks largely to the chemical and thermal stability of titanium oxides.Dan Maloney, Hackaday (source)
Needs must and all that.