keywords: Beneficiation, geochemical analysis, industrial clays, kaolinite
Scientific evaluation and refining to enhance quality for required industrial uses. Seven non-composited clays from Asaboro, Igbanke and Esan areas in southern Nigeria were mineralogically, geochemically and geotechnically tested and characterised in order to appraise their economic and industrial applications. Mineralogical analyses reveal kaolinite as the dominant clay mineral and quartz as the dominant non-clay constituent. Major element abundance show that SiO2 (6.64 – 72.84%) and Al2O3 (ca. 13.63 – 30.46%) constitutes between 70 and 88% of the bulk chemical composition, while the remaining 12 – 30% of the composition is ascribed to trace elements, water and, most likely organic constituent. Although notable variability exists in the SiO2 and Al2O3 contents, the Igbanke clay is less siliceous and more aluminous than the other clays. Geotechnically, the clays are characterized by medium to high compressibility and plasticity. Percentage shrinkage and colloidal activity are consistent with the plasticity. Potential industrial applications of the clays based on evaluated characteristics, revealed their suitability for the manufacture of cosmetics, paint, acid-proof products, sanitary wares and glazing tiles, rubber production and as coating material for paper production if improved upon by appropriate processing and beneficiation.