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PPG to Work With Argex Mining to Make Paint Pigment in Quebec

April 3 (Bloomberg) -- PPG Industries Inc., the world’s second-largest paint maker, will work with Argex Mining Inc. to make titanium dioxide amid rising prices for the white pigment.

The technical collaboration agreement may lead to a new supply of titanium dioxide for PPG, the Pittsburgh-based company said in a statement today. Production of 15,000 metric tons a year in Quebec is expected to begin in 18 to 36 months, rising to 195,000 metric tons in 5 years, Jean-Francois Meilleur, a spokesman for Montreal-based Argex, said in a telephone interview.

PPG Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Charles Bunch is developing methods to use less titanium dioxide, known by the chemical formula TiO2, while buying cheaper pigment from China as prices rose 45 percent in the last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Argex plans to spend C$800 ($807) million on pigment factories through 2017, Meilleur said.

“This strategic initiative offers PPG the opportunity to leverage our expertise and secure an enhanced supply of this critical raw material,” Charles F. Kahle II, PPG chief technology officer, said in the statement. “Volatile pricing for titanium dioxide continues to be an important issue for the company.”

Argex may also sell the chemical to battery makers, said Meilleur, president of Montreal-based Paradox Public Relations.

PPG used to make TiO2 at its site in Natrium, West Virginia, according to the statement. Jeremy Neuhart, a PPG spokesman, didn’t return a call seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Kaskey in Houston at jkaskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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