Bentonite and bentonite Fuller’s earth are mined worldwide. The USA is the major producer of bentonite Fuller’s earth . Approximately 90% of world bentonite production is concentrated in 13 countries: the USA, Greece, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, South Africa, and Australia . The USA, Greece, and the Commonwealth of Independent States account for roughly 55% of the annual world production of 10 million tonnes. Wyoming produces the bulk of bentonite mined in the USA (Ampian, 1985). In 2002, the bulk of US production was used domestically, and only a small fraction, 11%, was exported worldwide. In addition to the mining of natural deposits, small amounts of bentonite, are produced synthetically in both Europe and the USA for use as a catalyst.
Bentonite is usually a open cast mine. After the suitable grade is selected, the bentonite will be processed in a bentonite processing plant, which can can mix, activate and granulate mined bentonite, within one hour of the material being mined, and can screen, crush, dry, milling and bag the material within two to three hours. Bentonite processing plant, usually contains small jaw crusher, cone crusher, vibrating screen, ball mill, Raymond mill, vertical mill, trapezium mill, ultrafine mill is needed according to the processing needs.
The high-throughput bentonite processing plant will be able to handle both wet and dry bentonite. the bentonite is then dried in a long cylinder called a rotary dryer where approximately 10 to 15% of the moisture is removed. The finished product has moisture content of 7 to 10%. This process involves removal of foreign materials by screening which harmful for natural property of bentonite. Once delivered from the rotary dryer, the bentonite is processed into either a fine powder or granulated into a small particle or flake.
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