OFR 1993-06

Bentonite, Alberta Mineral Commodity Profile

Author(s) Date 1993-04-30

Bentonite is a type of clay deposit formed by the devitrification an alteration of volcanic ash and glass, and is common in the Cretaceous and Paleocene sediments underlying much of the Alberta Plains and Foothills (Scafe, 1975). However, the known locations of bentonite deposits of acceptable grades and mineable volumes are limited in Alberta.

Primary uses in Canada, including Alberta, are for iron ore pelletizing, bonding foundry sand, oil well drilling, agricultural/chemical carriers, and geotechnical barriers. These markets have been supplemented recently by high added value, low tonnage products. Requirements for all of these products are met mostly by imports, mainly from the United States (U.S.A.).

This report examines the possibilities of resuming and expanding production from past producers, of identifying opportunities to replace imports for the primary markets, and of determining potential for production of value-added products that would attract industries to the Province.

Master, P.P. (1993): Bentonite: Alberta mineral commodity profile; Alberta Research Council, ARC/AGS Open File Report 1993-06, 58 p.