Although a small decline in the UK production of China Clay has occurred in recent years, the value to the UK economy has remained constant with a small increase in the value of the export market.
China Clay or Kaolin has a wide range of industrial markets including ceramics, paper and specialist applications such as fillers for pharmaceuticals, paints, adhesives and animal feeds.
Critical properties are whiteness and grain size and shape, with the latter affecting other factors such strength, plasticity and fluidity which are critical to meet a wide range of customer specifications.
Also known as plastic clays, Ball clays are used principally in the ceramics industry for industrial applications, including sanitaryware, tile manufacture and tableware.
Routinely blended from different clay horizons and sources, their ability to flow into moulds, their firing properties and inherent strength ensures UK Ball clays are much sought after global commodity in the manufacture of items such as sinks, toilets, wall and floor tiles.
Increased production has largely fed an increase in a widening export market, to Europe, the Middle and Far East and the Americas.
The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and silica sand industries.