5 Surprising Facts about… Paint

1) The oldest use of paint was around 30,000 BC

The first interior figurative painting in Europe was done around 32,000 years ago in what is now France by prehistoric cave dwellers. They employed stencils in some of the work and even spray-painted by blowing paint through hollow bird bones.

The materials that the cave ancestors used were:

  • pastes of natural iron  & magnesium oxides- ground with crude pestles & mortars, mixed with water
  • egg white, animal fat or bone marrow binders
  • black, red & yellow pallet.

Credit: Paint Quality Institute


2) Colours affect our everyday lives

Everywhere we look we are surrounded by colours. These colours surprisingly have a large impact on our everyday lives. They can make us happy, sad and so on depending on how we perceive the colour. When you next redecorate your house, keep this in mind.

Red: Powerful, assertive, anger, love, passion

Blue: Smart, calm, trust, stable

Green: Natural, restful, jealously, eco-friendly

Yellow: Warm, energy, optimism, fresh

Credit: Sabine Luecke (Imerys Kaolin Sales Manager Germany, Austria and Switzerland), Image: Colour Psychology


3) Ancient Greeks and Romans were the first to use protective coatings

Research has found that, as long ago as 600 BC, Ancient Romans and Greeks protected and preserved surfaces using coatings. Varnishes incorporating drying oils were introduced during this period, but it was not until the Middle Ages that Europe discovered this advanced function of pigments.

Today platy minerals, particularly kaolin, are added to improve the performance of protective coatings on wood, metal and other surfaces. Imerys Kaolin offers a full range of coating products for wood and metal, in addition to its specialist kaolin for UV-curing systems, ImerCureTM X10.

Click here for more information on protective coatings or email kaolin.emea@imerys.com to contact a local representative.

Credit: Paint and Surface Coatings: Theory and Practice by R Lambourne, T A Strivens


4) There are 5 powerful ways to improve paint formulations.

Formulated into Paint, fine kaolin such as Supreme™ can act as a functional extender of TiO2, reducing formulation cost and improving rheology.

Coarser kaolins, Polwhite™ B & Polwhite™ E do not offer so much potential to extend TiO2 but do enhance the dry film properties of primers and undercoats.

OpaciliteTM is the most advanced TiO2 extender allowing replacement of up to 30% of TiO2 in a formulation.

While Polsperse™ 10 and OptiGloss™ XD offers paint makers the possibility to extend TiO2 in solvent based gloss paints processed using high speed dissolvers rather than bead mills traditionally associated with this type of paint – cutting processing time and increasing efficiency.

For more information on how Imerys Kaolin can improve your paint formulation click here or email kaolin.emea@imerys.com to speak to a technical paint expert.


 5) 50 Shades of White

White is one of the most popular decorative paint colours; and with such high demand, paint manufacturers now offer whole ranges of white and off-whites. However, with a palette of over 50 shades that differ from warmer tones to cooler ones, finding the perfect white pantone colour can be a little overwhelming.

Click here to check out the Pantone Colour Finder tool on their website.

Pantone Swatch cards. Image: Pantone


Published on: 4 Dec 2017

SD challenge: Winning photo

Following our recent blog post about the SD Challenge winners; IMERYS Kaolin’s UK Platform is pleased to announce the SD Challenge winning photo was taken during its recent European Minerals Day activities. Participants were encouraged to post photos, as part of the SD Challenge. The photos were posted on Chatter, which is an internal social media platform, where they were voted on. IMERYS Kaolin’s UK Platform held as part of European Minerals Day a click initiative for the

Photography students from St Austell college. The students got an opportunity to visit operational sites to widen their portfolio.


The picture below, taken by one of the visiting students, was voted the best picture posted on Chatter:


 Published on: 28 Nov 2017


IMERYS Kaolin is pleased to announce its UK platform was awarded the IMERYS Sustainable Development Challenge trophy for “Environment -Resources Efficiency”.

IMERYS Kaolin’s UK Platform representatives Ashley Shopland and John Hodkin (pictured below – right and centre) received the trophy for the “Environment – Resources Efficiency” category for the project “Using redundant mining land for renewable energy generation”.

This award is in recognition of various PV and wind turbine installations across a number of Imerys’ UK locations.


Also in the picture is Imerys Chief Industrial Officer Jean-François Claver.

The  SD Challenge Awards ceremony was held to recognize all of the 2016 winners. More details on Imerys Sustainable Development Programme can be found here: More details on Imerys Sustainable Development Programme can be found  here: http://www.imerys.com/scopi/group/imeryscom/imeryscom.nsf/pagesref/SBDD-8Q6MS6?Opendocument&lang=en

Published on: 24 Nov 2017

5 Surprising Facts about…Titanium Dioxide

1) Titanium ore was first discovered in 1791 in Cornwall by an English clergyman, William Gregor (The identification of the oxide was made a few years later by a German chemist, M.H. Klaproth). 

Gregor discovered titanium in the stream that runs through the valley just south of Manaccan (pronounced Man-ak-ann) Parish. The location is commemorated by a plaque placed next to a bridge. The mineral ilmenite, an iron titanium oxide, was a constituent of the ore identified by William Gregor; it has an alternative name manaccanite, derived from Manaccan.

Cornwall is also the home to some of Imerys Kaolin’s unique clay deposits – the county has a plethora of mineral heritage including historical Tin and Copper industries.

Credit: Britannica and Beverley Dingle (Imerys Kaolin Technology Analyst)

Find out more about the Cornish Parish of Manaccan in this blog and Image Credit: Titanium Rings Forever


2) No-one depends on the pigment as much as the coatings industry.

“Around 55 % of all titanium-dioxide is used for coatings, followed by the plastics (25 %) and the paper (9%) industry. You will also find it in cosmetics, tooth paste, sun lotion and printing inks, even though the global consumption share for these applications is rather small. “ Credit: European Coatings

3) Hikes in prices of titanium dioxide have inflated to as high as +35% since mid-2016 to mid-2017

The surge in TiO2 price has had profound impact on coating producers worldwide.

Cuts in supply have added to the pressures on the Titanium Dioxide market, in particular a fire at the Huntsman TiO2 facility in Finland in February 2017 and significantly reduced exports of pigment from China due to stricter environmental regulations enforced by the Chinese government this year.

Credit: ICIS


4) Never has there been a product as powerful as Opacilite in reducing titanium dioxide in decorative paints

Introducing the heroic product… OpaciliteTM

This powerful kaolin can significantly reduce Titanium Dioxide pigment costs and relieve titanium dioxide availability issues for coatings and inks producers. Opacilite  has been proven to reduce TiOby upto 20%.

Opacilite™ flash calcined kaolin offers:-

  • Titanium dioxide extension
  • Excellent wet opacity
  • Outstanding dry hiding
  • Durable
  • Effective above and below coating CPVC
  • For use in high quality matt and silk paints.

For more information on how OpaciliteTM can be the hero to your paint formulation click here or email kaolin.emea@imerys.com

5) Major changes in the TiO2 Supplier Market.

Large restructuring has seen Titanium Dioxide producers consolidate production in 2015-2016. Today, the key TiO2 players are: Tronox, Chemours, Venator, Lomon Billions and Kronos.

Credit: European Coatings



Published on: 22 Nov 2017 

5 Surprising Facts about…Kaolin!

1. Kaolin has some surprisingly unusual uses and you’ve probably used it once today already. Most people think clay is only used in pottery, paper, tiles, tableware (plates and dishes) and sanitaryware (toilets, sinks and baths), however not many people are aware of its high-performance use in some familiar but surprising applications:

These include:

The paint you used to decorate your bedroom (interior and exterior paint)


… and the packaging your lunch arrived in (cardboard packaging, food films and the ink on the graphics)







The carpet you are walking on right now (rubber backing on carpets)







…and the last pen you used to sign your name (the soft grip of your pen)





…and the list goes on.

In fact, Imerys Kaolin’s products have over 50+ everyday uses!

If you are interested to find out all the weird and wonderful ways kaolin helps your everyday life click here.

Got an idea for our Science & Technology team about how kaolin can be used in a new application? Write to us at emea-kaolin@imerys.com


2.Contrary to popular belief, Kaolin wasn’t first found in “Gaoling (Kauling) Mountain” near Jingdeshen in China, where its name is derived.

Gaoling Mountain is often referred to  by the kaolin industry as where clay was first discovered; however when researchers returned to the original mine and tested samples, they found it was actually composed of halloysite not kaolin. Nevertheless, China has played a significant role in the history of kaolin. The production of Chinese porcelain was first introduced from the 6th century onwards (that’s around 1,417 years ago!). It was not until centuries later that other areas of the world would discover the mineral and duplicate the process.

Kaolin from the original Kauling (Gaoling) Mine locality, Kiangsi Province, China, W. D. Keller, H. Cheng, W. D. Johns and C.-S. Meng, Clays and Clay Minerals, 28 (2): 97-104 (1980).

Image credit: WordPress



3. William Cookworthy discovered China Clay in 1746 at Tregonning Hill, Cornwall.


William Cookworthy was the first person in Britain to discover how to make hard porcelain. Today, much of the landscape in St. Austell, Cornwall is home to Imerys Kaolin’s china clay workings. It remains the leader in kaolin production for many innovative applications worldwide.

Image credit: Cornwall Guide








4. Imerys Kaolin produces a one-of-a-kind clay that has extraordinary purifying properties that are used in face masks, shampoo, conditioner and other cosmetic applications.


The natural clay offers fantastic results for oily hair and skin, absorbing impurities to provide long-lasting results. Check the ingredients when you next purchase your hair and skin products for this special ingredient!

Find out more about these products here: ImerCare K kaolin range





5. Kaolinite can be found in over 15 countries around the world, but no two kaolin deposits are the same.

Although a commonly occurring mineral, each deposit is unique. Imerys Kaolin has exclusive access to a portfolio of kaolin deposits including production sites in UK, USA, France and Brazil in addition to a few selected others. Imerys Kaolin’s products offer unique and specific geological characteristics that can be tailor-made to meet changing demands of kaolin markets.

Click here to find out more about the geological science behind our products.









Published on: 15 Nov 2017

New Accreditation Alert!!

Imerys Kaolin is pleased to announce it has recently gained FAMI-QS accreditation for its alumino-silicate, AgriBind TM. The certificate of conformity below was gained on the 16th of October 2017.

FAMI-QS Certificate IML v3 Expires 20201001


AgriBind is a naturally occurring alumino-silicate sold extensively into the animal feed industry, to have a favourable effect on the welfare of animals.

Alumino-silicate has long been used as a remedy to relieve digestive problems, but adding AgriBind TM to all feed is seen as a prevention rather than  therapy.


Published on: 14 Nov 2017


Imerys Minerals Takes The Natural England Award

As reported by MPA 

“Imerys Minerals takes the Natural England Award with a project that has involved recreation of 785ha of lowland heathland on sites extending over 26 square miles of Cornwall. The work has been undertaken over a number of years as part of the Tomorrow’s Heathland project – putting the wild heart back into Cornwall.

It began with the landscaping and reprofiling of existing china clay tips, pits and mica dams in order to recreate previously lost lowland heathland habitat.

Heathland plant species were seeded onto specific sites, complemented by the planting of native trees. Collected seed stock was dispersed using a hydro-seeing technique. The scheme also included the creation of additional public access and installation of stock management facilities.

The project was planned using data captured from the National Lowland Heathland Programme and used historic material including aerial photography and landscape appraisals dating back to the 1940s. Imerys then worked with Natural England’s project team to identify appropriate sites.

Imerys Minerals Ltd was the overall winner of the Natural England Award for Landscape and Biodiversity. With a project that has involved recreation of 785ha of lowland heathland on sites extending over 26 square miles of Cornwall. It began with the landscaping and reprofiling of existing china clay tips, pits and mica dams in order to re-create lowland heathland habitat. Heathland plant species were seeded onto sites, complemented by the planting of native trees. The scheme also included the creation of public access and installation of stock management facilities to enable grazing management. ”

Melanie Hughes, Director, Change and Reform, Natural England:

I’ve been really impressed by the extremely high-quality entries for this year’s competition. They showcase the tremendous effort and expertise dedicated by the industry to the cause of nature conservation. The future of our wildlife will depend upon us increasingly planning and delivering at landscape-scales to extend and connect habitats, making space for nature to ensure it is thriving and resilient to climate change and other pressures.The projects in the Landscape-scale category this year really demonstrate that ambition, and must have made the judging very difficult. The sensitive restoration of complex habitats, with heathland featuring particularly strongly, has been striking, and is reflected in the rich communities of plants and animals that have already begun to colonise these new parts of ecological networks.”

Click here to watch the YouTube video (Skip to 8min8sec)


Link to MPA Press Release: http://www.mineralproducts.org/17-release32.htm

Published on: 2 Nov 2017

Stunning landscapes of the Imerys Kaolin operations!

Imerys Kaolin is the world leading kaolin producer. We offer product quality, supply reliability and technical support throughout the world. We mine our kaolin from extensive high quality naturally occurring reserves and process them to develop solutions that improve our customer’s product performance and manufacturing efficiency.

Published on: Oct 25, 2017

Imerys Kaolin plays host to Jaguar Landrover

Imerys Kaolin plays host to Jaguar Landrover for Promotional Ad at European Production Sites

Beautiful colour, beautiful backdrop! Jaguar Land Rover chose one of IMERYS Kaolin’s mines as the stunning background to launch its new special edition Evoque model.



Published on: Oct 24, 2017

Product Spotlight


Supreme™ premium kaolin from IMERYS gives multiple benefits when used in decorative matt wall paints, functioning both as an opacifying extender and also as a rheology modifier.
For further information please click here