The session focuses on deposits of industrial clays, namely kaolins, bentonites, palygorskite and sepiolite, vermiculite and common clays and shales. Industrial clays find numerous applications, from animal litter to paper coating. Of increasing importance is their utilization in environmental applications. Geology, applied mineralogy, evaluation of industrial clays and phase change during technological processes are the main topics addressed in the session.
Industrial clays have relatively low unit value, though yet they occupy an important role in our everyday life. The growing number of possible applications requires thorough knowledge of their mineralogical variability. The increasing difficulties of opening new mines near traditional processing and manufacturing centres shift the emphasis on more efficient processing routes, formulation of end products with higher added values, new applications and rigorous quality control.
All these requirements are based on the remarkable physical and chemical properties of clay minerals. Thus clay mineral structures are considered basic input parameters during technological design. Clay minerals are also strongly linked to several forms of ore deposition and enrichment, and their spatial distribution is a marker of zonal alteration patterns surrounding ore deposits. Moreover clay minerals occur as weathering end products of mineral waste, and they play a complex role of absorbers, sealants and main controlling factors of permeability in environmental applications.