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Titanium Deposits

Outcrops of the Cretaceous McNairy Formation are exposed in the eastern Jackson Purchase Region in western Kentucky, and field work by the Kentucky Geological Survey and U.S. Geological Survey researchers in 1987 confirmed the presence of heavy minerals in the McNairy. The McNairy consists of fluvial deltaic sandstones and clays and contains subeconomic quantities of heavy minerals such as ilmenite, rutile, anatase, hematite, and zircon in surface exposures and may contain more economic quantities in the subsruface. Although the grade appeared to be low (2 percent), the presence of a coarser fraction to the south and west may improve the grade of the deposit in the subsurface. The surface deposits in western Kentucky appear to be thin, discontinuous, and lower grade than those in Tennessee, where they are commercially mined. Because of the fine-grained characteristics of the McNairy sands, beneficiation of any titanium minerals may be difficult.