National Minerals Information Center

Clays Statistics and Information

Six types of clays are mined in the United States:   ball clay, bentonite, common clay, fire clay, fuller's earth, and kaolin.  Mineral composition, plasticity, color, absorption qualities, firing characteristics, and clarification properties are a few of the characteristics used to distinguish between the different clay types.   Major domestic markets for these clays are as follows:   sanitaryware and ceramic tile for ball clays; absorbents, drilling mud, foundry sand bonding agent, and iron ore pelletizing for bentonite; brick, lightweight aggregate, and portland cement clinker for common clay and shale; refractories for fire clay; absorbents for fuller's earth; and paper and refractory markets for kaolin.

 

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