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Essential Minerals

The Unimin mineral portfolio reflects the wide diversity of physical, chemical and functional requirements of our customers. Many of these essential raw materials are uniquely occurring in the world, and quarried to serve a worldwide demand for performance oriented industrial minerals. Strict selection criteria, based upon application and performance requirements, identify ore bodies with specific mineralogical properties for processing and optimization.

We employ a wide range of beneficiation methods to produce industrial minerals with functionality and value for our customers. Chemical purity, particle size management and other "critical to quality" parameters are statistically controlled for predictable results in the customer's application. Continual exploration and reinvestment ensure that these essential raw materials remain a uniform and sustainable resource for our customers.

Unimin mines quartz-rich rock and sandstone deposits throughout North America to produce industrial silica sand. These silicon dioxide resources run the gamut of mineralogical complexity from mature and nearly pure quartz concentrations to geologically "new" feldspathic sands. High purity SiO2 is an essential chemical component in glass, ceramic and silicate manufacture and a durable structural element in a wide range of building products, filtration and energy service applications.

Unimin mines a light-colored metamorphic rock deposit in Canada to produce nepheline syenite. This important ore body, composed of nepheline with subordinate amounts of albite and microcline, yields a complex aluminum silicate with valuable physical, chemical and optical properties. Nepheline syenite lowers the melt temperature of many industrial processes for energy savings, and can be further modified to produce functional fillers for paint, powder coatings and plastics.

Unimin mines a coarse grained granitic rock unit in the Spruce Pine Intrusive Suite to produce high purity quartz. Unique deposit minerology and proprietary technologies yield ultra-pure grades with total impurity levels measured in parts per million. Chemical purity and heat resistance make high purity quartz an indispensable component of semiconductor chips, solar cell manufacturing and quartz lighting applications.

Unimin concentrates sodium and potassium feldspar by crushing and sizing select granitic rock deposits. Feldspar alumino-silicates act as a flux to lower the temperature of vitrification and provide alumina which promotes hardness, durability and resistance to chemical corrosion in ceramic wares, electrical porcelain, and all types of glass and fiber insulation.

Unimin produces high calcium lime (CaO) and hydrated quicklime Ca(OH)2 from high purity limestone ore bodies. Lime and limestone provide chemical functionality in a diverse range of industrial applications. Lime and limestone are used extensively in metallurgy to remove impurities and adjust final chemistry. Highly reactive and soluble lime is essential for pulp and paper manufacturing, water treatment and air quality management.

Unimin mines and produces chemical grade dolomite from the Cambrian-aged Royer dolomite in Oklahoma. This formation is highly valued for its consistently low levels of silica, alumina and iron oxide impurities and its low decrepitation rates. Unimin dolomite finds application in glass manufacturing, building and construction products, and agri-business.

Unimin mines bone-white microcrystalline quartz deposits unique to North America and rare throughout the world. Composed of individual grains of microscopic quartz, the formation is concentrated in soft earthy beds intermixed with chert masses. Microcrystalline silica has a textural grape-like structure that adds functional performance to paints, plastics, rubber and composite materials.

Olivine is an iron and magnesium silicate ultramafic rock formed deep within the earth. These mantle-derived rock bodies infrequently appear on the Earth's surface as dunite slabs, sheared and thrust toward the surface where they are exposed by weathering. Unimin selectively processes olivine to deliver thermal stability, heat absorption and MgO contribution in foundry, refractory and metallurgical applications.

Unimin mines kaolinite clays at multiple locations in Georgia. Kaolin clays mined from these weathered feldspar deposits provide a consistently uniform source of alumina. Air flotation and processing eliminates accessory minerals including quartz, feldspar, mica, calcite and sometimes pyrite impurities to yield superior fiberglass, ceramic and functional filler grades.

Unimin produces ball clays from its operations in Tennessee, Texas and Indiana. Kaolinite-rich deposits containing varying quantities of illite, sericite mica, smectite clays and organic matter are selectively mined and blended to fulfill plasticity and fired-strength specifications in ceramic applications. Ball clay also delivers structural, reinforcing and rheological functionality in rubberized products, membranes and flexible coatings.

High bightness calcite and calcium carbonate feedstocks are processed and air-classified for structural fillers in plastic, paint, adhesives and sealants. Engineered fillers and surface treated grades add reinforcing properties in PVC plastic, flexible film and paint applications.