Development of value-added zeolite products from St. Cloud Mining

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 97, No. 1077, 2004

J.M. Barker, P.S. Freeman, G.S. Austin, R.S. Bowman

The physical, chemical and mineralogic characteristics of zeolites allow commercially important applications. While adoption of zeolite technology is slow in the United States compared to other regions of the world, continued testing and research has shown a wide range of uses for these minerals. They are important catalysts in petroleum refining, molecular sieves able to separate gases, and chemically inert carriers of reactants. The zeolite clinoptilolite produced by St. Cloud Mining Company (clino) (SC) is used in animal hygiene and animal feed, especially concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), horticulture, water treatment, floor dry, aquariums, air and other filters, and odour control. Clino can remove cations from solution, and surface-modified zeolite (SMZ) is a sorbent for the removal of anions and neutral organics from water. Specific clino applications are: control of chemical pollution in groundwater, removal of organic compounds from oil field waters, and elimination of pathogens from sewage effluent. Combining the sorption capabilities of SMZ with chemical or biological transformations can yield complete removal of toxic materials from contaminated water. Continued development and marketing of zeolite products will be a growth market far into the future. The CAFO market for zeolites is the most significant growth area in the United States over the next few years. SMZ, currently less than 1% of St. Cloud sales, will continue to gain market penetration for many years.
Keywords: Zeolites, Mining, Processing, Transportation, Marketing, St. Cloud Mining.