- © 2014 by the Mineralogical Society of America
Kaolin is used in many consumer products and as a functional additive and process enabler in manufacturing. It is typically extracted from open-pit mines that range from small to very large scale (tens to hundreds of thousands of dry metric tons produced per year). Ore processing consists of removing impurities, engineering particle size and shape, and enhancing certain properties through thermal and chemical treatment. In addition to the technical aspects of mining and processing, the social, environmental, and economic impacts of kaolin production are managed at each stage of the mining life cycle. Discussed herein are aspects of the history of kaolin mining, the classification of kaolin mines, the processing of kaolin, and the life cycle of mining.