Kaolin is an important and widely used industrial mineral which is refined from Kaolinite. It is a naturally ?C occurring mineral of the clay family and may contain a number of impurities such as quartz, feldspar, tourmaline, ilmenite, zircon, etc, which were derived from the parent rock. It is a weathering product of silicate rocks which is whitish, earthy to dull with plastic touch.
The mining and processing of kaolin begins with exploration. Geologists study the earth's surface, research literature and other data to identify land with potential kaolin deposits.
Deposits of kaolin are located by drilling holes in the earth, which can range up to 200 feet in depth. When kaolin deposits are encountered, core samples of the deposits are extracted and sent to a laboratory for testing. Kaolin companies must drill 50 to 100 holes per every 100 acres to get a reasonable indication of the quality and size of the deposit. The cost of drilling and testing a single hole ranges from $1,000 to $1,500. Thousands of acres are drilled and thousands of feet of sample are tested to yield a handful of acceptable mining sites. The samples are analyzed to determine the quality and extent of the deposits.