Clariant’s Business Unit Functional Minerals is the leading provider of specialty products and solutions based on bentonite and synthetic minerals to enhance products and processes in various industries. Headquartered in Munich, Germany and operating on a worldwide scale, the Business Unit comprises the activities of the former Adsorbents Division of Süd-Chemie. Functional Minerals has fully integrated the complete value chain from exploration, mining, processing and refinement of natural bentonite to tailored industry and customer specific solutions. An experienced management team makes sure that anticipating and meeting customers’ expectations are the top priority for the whole organization.
While bentonite per se is abundant on earth, careful selection of the right bentonites for the individual applications is a crucial part of ensuring uninterrupted supply. To this end our own exploration team of geologists, mineralogists and mining engineers travels the world to find suitable deposits for our customers’ needs.
Our application development department, staffed with chemists and scientists experienced in our customers’ applications, tests and approves the individual bentonite grades prior to moving into full-scale mining operations.
Clariant currently operates 40 bentonite mines, so our customers can rest assured that supply is secured and that mining is fully compliant with international, national, regional and local regulations.
Processing & Production
Bentonite can be processed in several ways to optimize properties for the individual uses. Functional Minerals operates 24 production sites that turn the raw bentonite clay into consistent quality products for a variety of our customers’ applications. The challenge is always to convert a natural product with natural fluctuations of composition and quality into a final product with consistent performance – a challenge that we master day-in day-out for more than 100 years now.
Acid activation is performed to considerably increase the surface area of the bentonite and create additional acidic reaction sites. This treatment is useful for applications like edible oil refinement and purification of mineral oils and biofuel feedstock.
Alkaline activation is performed to modify the viscosity and rheology of bentonite slurries. This treatment is useful of applications like foundry sand binders, civil engineering, paper, detergents and many more.
Some bentonite grades are naturally active and fit for their respective application. In any case, all grades, whether activated or not, need to be dried, milled and classified to specification and pass rigorous quality checks prior to release to customers.
The mines of Functional Minerals are always operated under the prerequisite that the land will ultimately be returned to the land owner in the same or even better state than before extracting bentonite. We thus turn our attention from the beginning to the re-cultivation of mine sites and co-ordinate all activities with local and regional authorities and the land owners. Agricultural land is returned to the same use as before mining without loss of fertility and productivity for the farmer. Forest, abandoned agricultural land and wasteland is re-cultivated to an upgraded level of biodiversity in close co-operation with authorities. This co-operation with all stakeholders of land, be it authorities, local governing bodies and individual owners of property and mining and water rights, ensures sustainability of bentonite supply and living up to the Clariant values.
Nature gives us so much – we give back
When we re-naturalize mining sites, we replace and improve natural habitats by planting mixed woodlands and increasing biodiversity, being a good neighbor.
Functional Minerals takes pride in offering unrivaled technical and application services to its customers. Both our development and sales teams consist of members with distinct experience in our customers’ industries and applications, like chemists and foundry, paper, civil and agricultural engineers. Their main focus is to continuously improve and adapt our products and processes to optimize our customers’ total cost of ownership (TCO).
Functional Minerals HeadquartersClariant Produkte (Deutschland) GmbH/Clariant SEBusiness Unit Functional MineralsLenbachplatz 680333 MünchenGermany