5 Surprising Facts about … Imerys Kaolin (UKP)

1) Home to ‘Clay Country’

The Imerys Kaolin UK Platform is located in St. Austell, Cornwall and rightfully made its name as ‘Clay Country’ when, in 1910, it alone supplied 50% of kaolin production worldwide.  The industry was the powerhouse of the local area and built railway infrastructures like Fowey Rail Station (pictured below). In 1988, 10% of the population of St. Austell worked in the Clay Industry. Today, much of the area is still used for the clay industry however; the railway station is closed after nationalisation in the 1960s.

Fowey 2nd January 1965 Copyright Sid Sponheimer


2) Unlike any other, unique in every way

Imerys Kaolin mines kaolin from extensive naturally occurring reserves that have a unique geology specific to UK deposits. It is this important factor that gives Imerys Kaolin its wide and balanced portfolio of kaolin products and enables us to deliver advanced solutions to our global customer base.

With over 100 products and engineered for over 20 key industrial markets, Imerys Kaolin has solutions that can offer performance enhancing properties and cost reductions. Find out if we have a product for your business here or email our Technical Service Team on kaolin.emea@imerys.com to let us help you find a specific solution for your business.

Littlejohn’s Pit, Imerys Kaolin UKP (Top) Kaolin Microscope Image (Bottom)



3) Lion ‘on the loose” – Suspicious sightings

In 2016, there were over 3 sightings of a ‘Lion-like’ cat reported on and near to Imerys Kaolin’s clay sites. Giant paw prints have been found and remains of decapitated deer left behind, however no hard evidence has proven the sightings. Could the ‘White Lion’ just be a myth?

Image credit: Michael Board


4) Lights, camera, action!

Host to numerous film crews, Imerys Kaolin has been the select location for many photoshoots and films. The top list includes filming for Doctor Who, episode ‘A Colony in Space’ in 1971, and more recently a promotional shoot for the new Jaguar Landrover special edition Evoque model.

Images: (Top to bottom) Doctor Who episode filmed at Imerys Kaolin’s UK pits, and Jaguar Landrover photoshoot for latest model.


5) Green Power Generation

Imerys Kaolin (UKP) has a strong commitment to a greener future and has recently made significant investments in renewable energy installations across its redundant clay pits, mica dams and in surrounding land in the UK.

– 34MW capacity of installed renewable energy

– 10 renewable energy installations

– 4 Wind Turbines

– 5 Solar Parks

Using renewable electrical energy from three sites, Imerys Kaolin has reduced carbon emissions by – 3000 t/CO2. This is a 5% reduction.

Read the complete sustainable development brochure here

For enquiries and more information on Imerys Kaolin UKP please email Kaolin.emea@imerys.com

This is the last edition of 5 Surprising Facts series on Imerys Kaolin EMEA BLOG. Read the other posts here: News and Media

Continued Investments in Quality and Safety

IMERYS Kaolin’s UK Platform is constantly working to ensure consistent sustainable, reliable, high quality supply of kaolin for its customers and this requires constant investment. The UK Platform continues to invest millions of British Pounds every year in its UK operations. The aim is not only to maintain, but to constantly improve its leading market quality, Environmental, Health and Safety standards.

During 2017 IMERYS Kaolin has made some significant investments including over burden removal at its mines and an extensive drilling campaign to ensure future supply commitments. To improve air quality in the local environment, exhaust cyclones have been installed.  In order to continue improvement of its market leading quality and product stewardship, sifters, powder densification and new bagging lines have also been put in place.

Above is an image that captures part of the dry mining refurbishment, which took place as part of extensive refurbishment of the Western Area dry mining plant. As seen in the image below a new drier was installed as part of the planned maintenance and upgrades of its operations this year.

With further investments planned in 2018, IMERYS Kaolin is proud to continue to invest in its UK Operations as part of its commitment to keep meeting and exceeding customer expectations as the leading global kaolin supplier.


Published on: 15 Dec 2017

5 Surprising Facts about… Inks

1) There’s more to ink than meets the eye…

Many people view ink as essentially the same as paint – an organic or inorganic pigment or dye dissolved or suspended in a resin and/or solvent. However, ink is more unique than it may seem.

The modern ink market is segmented into two classes: printing inks and writing inks. Printing inks have two subclasses: ink for conventional (analogue) printing, in which a mechanical plate comes in contact with or transfers an image to the substrate; and ink for digital non-impact printing, which includes ink-jet and electro-photographic (xerographic) technologies.

For the largest analogue printing segment, Offset Printing, Imerys Kaolin has developed ImerPrint 07K to offer excellent print density, viscosity and fount bleed control.  Find out more here: http://bit.ly/2AjUO17

Donut chart shows ‘Total Printing Inks & Colourants Consumption: One Million Tonnes’ Credit: SmithersPira 2015


2) Ink’s role in nature

For millions of years, ink has held an important function for coleoid cephalopods. Yes that’s right, squid, cuttlefish and octopus, who use it as a defence mechanism; a smoke-screen to confuse predators. Some deep water squids are even known to produce bioluminescent ink.

The chemistry and biosynthesis of ink in cephalopods is complex and even to this day not well understood. It is a form of the common biological pigment melanin. Coleoid cephalopods produce the variety eumelanin which chemically and structurally is a complex polymer of 5,6-dihydroxyindole and 5,6-dihodroxyindole-2-carboxylic acid. Eumelanin is, as we all know, a dark brown, kind of ‘sepia’ colour.

Credit: Ruth Siddal, UCL


3) Ink Industry is the 4th largest user of titanium dioxide worldwide

TiO2 accounts for 80% of all white pigments used in printing ink formulations. Most white inks contain titanium dioxide as the pigment, as rutile and anatase in tetragonal crystalline form. It is also one of the most costly ingredients, and partially the cause behind the recent price hikes of inks at top manufacturers.

ImerPrint™ 02K is a high performance kaolin designed to extend TiO2 in water and solvent based flexographic inks, by providing good opacity and colour performance whilst maintaining high gloss. ImerPrint™ 02K enhances TiO2 efficiency and provides a cost savings and sustainable solution for packaging inks and varnishes. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/ImerPrint

Credit: European Coatings


4) Fragmented and Competitive Global Market for Ink Production



5) The Future of Inks

New technologies have enabled many specialty inks to be designed for very specific end uses. With some new thermochromic and photochromic inks heat and light are needed to produce colour, while electronic ink requires an electric field to induce colour.

Thermochromic inks help detect temperature changes in a moving part while electronic inks find application in various displays. Magnetic inks incorporate certain magnetic materials in the ink and are used in printing cheque books for efficient screening by cashiers.

Credit: ChemistryWorld



Published on: 13 Dec 2017





APCS 2017 Competition Winner Announced…

Congrats to Netty Kusmayanti at Pacific Paint Indonesia who won an iPad Mini.

Our Market Survey Competition at Asia Pacific Coating Show 2017 was a huge success and we thank all participants for entering. If you would like to stay updated with future competitions, please follow Imerys Kaolin on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Asia Pacific is a vibrant place and, just like Imerys Kaolin, is leading the way to big changes in the paints and coatings industry.

Imerys Kaolin has been supplying high quality products to the Asia Pacific paint & coatings market for many years. APCS 2017 provided an excellent platform to engage with our existing customers and meet potential clients.  Joining forces with members of our global sales team and local partners to host meetings together with our global technical experts, allowed Imerys Kaolin to support customers and provide fast solutions to their problems.

The winner of Imerys Kaolin Market Survey APCS 2017 Netty Kusmayanti (left) awarded by Alifius Pakpahan, Imerys  representative (right), December 2017.


The Asia Pacific region continues to see strong growth and dynamic markets, as well as growing demand for the high quality and consistent kaolin products that Imerys Kaolin offers.   With our leading high-performing kaolin products providing excellent TiO2 extension, resin extension and mechanical performance, Imerys Kaolin is committed to supporting Asia Pacific market as it continues to expand.

If you would like to meet our commercial team and technical paint experts, please visit us at Middle East Coating Show 2018 stand K06 to discuss how we can support your business growth.

For more information on Imerys Kaolin’s Paint and Coatings kaolin portfolio click here


Netty Kusmayanti standing in front of Imerys Kaolin stock at Pacific Paint, December 2017.



Published on: 11 Dec 2017 

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


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