A unique portfolio of minerals
Imerys operates over a 100 mineral deposits worldwide yielding more than 30 different minerals, allowing us to offer you, our customers, a one-stop-shop solution to meet your needs.
The Imerys Performance Mineral portfolio includes ball clay, bentonite, ground and precipitated calcium carbonate, chamotte, diatomaceous earth, feldspar, halloysite, kaolin, quartz, mica, moler, perlite, talc and wollastonite.
Scroll for more information about our minerals and the markets we serve.
- Ball Clay
- Calcium Carbonate
- Diatomaceous Earth
- Ball Clay
- Calcium Carbonate
- Diatomaceous Earth
Ball clay—or ‘plastic clay’ as it is sometimes referred to—is a very rare mineral comprising a mixture of kaolinite, mica and quartz as well as some organic matter.
Imerys ball clays are prized for the production of ceramics tableware and sanitaryware where they are valued for their plasticity, excellent workability, unfired strength and whiteness. Certain clays can even give pure white end products.
Bentonite is a viscous clay predominantly consisting of montmorillonite. Bentonite has very strong colloidal properties and swells up to twenty times its volume when in contact with water, creating a gelatinous substance.
Bentonite’s capacity to swell along with its high absorption and plastic properties makes it extremely valuable in a broad range of end products such as cat litter, animal feed and paper and board production.
Natural calcium carbonate is formed from the sedimented remains of aquatic organisms which have built up over time to on the sea bed to form rock. The most common forms are chalk, limestone and marble.
Precipitated Calcium Carbonate (PCC), the man-made from, is created by converting limestone into CaO and CO2 and the subsequent reaction of both purified components in a chemical reactor.
Due to their very high whiteness and opacity, GCC and PCC make excellent multi-functional fillers in paints and coatings, plastics, rubber, paper and adhesives and sealants. They are also prized sources of calcium for food supplementation and pharmaceuticals.
Chamotte (or ‘grog’) is calcined clay with a high silica and alumina content. It is obtained by calcining selected fire clays in a rotary kiln at high temperature.
Chamotte generally coarser than other raw materials used to prepare clay bodies making it a useful ingredient in the production of ceramic sanitaryware and tiles. Due to their excellent thermal shock resistance, fine fire-clays are very suited to the production of large, sophisticated bathroom fittings such as shower trays.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) or diatomite is a sedimentary rock composed of the fossilized remains of single-cell aquatic plants called diatoms.
Once ground, the profusion of shapes and microporous structure of DE result in an extremely low density powder with excellent absorption properties and filtration capabilities.
Diatomaceous earth is used in the filtration of beverages, pharmaceutical and biofuels. It provides absorption and matt finish in cosmetics and is an excellent matting agent in paints. It also finds valuable uses in plastics and agriculture.
Feldspar is the name given to a group of naturally occurring alumino-silicate minerals which make up around 50% of all rocks.
Feldspar is particularly useful in the production of ceramic tableware and sanitaryware where it is a valuable vitrifying or fluxing agents for ceramic bodies.
Halloysite is a natural form of very white, kaolinite. Unlike kaolin, which has a platelet crystal structure, halloysite is composed of tiny little tubes.
Halloysite is prized for the manufacture of thin porcelain and bone china tableware where the combination of tubular shape and low iron and titanium content produces fine ceramics with exceptional whiteness and translucency.
Kaolin, or ‘china clay’ as it is commonly called, is a hydrated aluminum silicate crystalline distinguished by its fine particle size, plate-like particle shape and chemical inertness.
The whiteness and plasticity of kaolin make it extremely suitable as a filler, extender, pigment and process enabler in a host of end products including paper, paints, adhesives, cosmetics, rubber and plastics. Kaolin is also the principle raw material for the production of ceramics tableware, sanitaryware and tiles.
Imerys also supplies kaolin in its calcined, hydrous, air-floated (US) and metakaolin forms.
Mica is a naturally occurring, highly platy phyllosilicate of aluminum and potassium whose particles resemble the pages of a book. Mica is unique due to the broad range of particle sizes naturally available, from microns up to several centimeters. Imerys produces both phlogopite and muscovite mica grades from its deposits in France and North America.
The particle shape and chemical composition of mica make it a valuable ingredient in—among others—face powders, paints, cement board and rubber and plastic parts.
Moler is a unique clay-like form of diatomite, dating back to the early Eocene time, typically comprising two-thirds diatom algae shells and one-third smectite clay. Typical moler contains up over hundred different diatoms, which are essentially round, triangular and ball shaped. Imerys operates the only true deposits of moler which are located on the islands of Fur and Mors off the northwestern coast of Denmark.
Due to its excellent absorption properties, moler finds uses in animal feed, animal bedding and cat litter; as a soil conditioner in horticulture; and to clean up oil and chemical spills.
Perlite is a naturally occurring volcanic rock, which contains water that expands into steam to produce a foamed structure. When heated to a suitable point, perlite is capable of expanding up to twenty times its original volume creating tiny bubbles. This accounts for the exceptional light weight and insulating properties of expanded perlite.
Imerys markets perlite for a wide range of end applications including beverage and pharmaceutical filtration; as a matting agent in paints; as a natural scrub agent in cosmetics; as a lightweight insulation material in construction; and for soil amendment in growing substrates.
Quartz is a hard, crystalline mineral composed of silicon and oxygen atoms. It is the second most abundant mineral in the planet’s crust, after the feldspar family of minerals. Quartz is a versatile mineral which is both durable and chemically inert and demonstrates excellent heat resistance as well as electric properties.
Imerys offers a full range of high purity quartz pebbles mainly used in the production of ferroalloys and ferro-silicon for special steel alloys. We also produces quartz sand and gravel aggregates and pebbles for decorative use to serve the construction and public works sectors.
Talc is a hydrated magnesium silicate, formed many millions of years ago. As a natural ore, talc is always found in combination with at least one other mineral, the most common being chlorite, which is a chemically and structurally similar ore. Other associated minerals often found with talc include dolomite and magnesite.
Talc’s softness, lamellar structure and hydrophobicity make it an essential ingredient and process enabler in a wide range of end products including paints, paper, plastics, rubber, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers and animal feed.
Wollastonite is a naturally occurring, calcium metasilicate (CaSiO3) mineral with a needle-like particle shape. Wollastonite is formed when impure limestone or dolostone undergo high temperature and pressure changes sometimes in the presence of silica-bearing fluids as in skarns or contact metamorphic rocks. It is usually white and can withstand temperatures over 1500°C.
Due to its unique acicular morphology and chemical composition wollastonite is a valuable multi-functional, reinforcing filler in paints, plastics, adhesives and sealants and rubber.