It is one of the most common minerals on earth and can be easily identified by its fine particle size and plate-like structure. The world's largest reserves of premium kaolin are located in the United States and Brazil.
Kaolin, also known as china clay, is soft white clay which is an essential element in the manufacturing of porcelain and china and is used widely in making paper, paint, rubber, and lots of other products. In its natural form kaolin is a soft, white powder consisting mainly of the kaolinite mineral, which under electron microscope, is known to consist of generally hexagonal, platy crystal ranging in the size from approximately 0.1 to 10 micrometres. These crystals can take book like and vermicular forms, and macroscopic forms approaching the millimetre size are occasionally found.
Kaolin, found in nature generally contains varying quantities of other minerals like muscovite, feldspar, anatase and quartz. In addition, basic kaolin is often stained yellow by the iron hydroxide pigments. It’s often needed to bleach clay chemically to eliminate the iron pigments and to wash with water to eliminate the other minerals to make kaolin for commercial uses.
The kaolin market is estimated to be USD 4.52 Billion in 2017 and is projected to reach USD 5.52 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 4.1% from 2017 to 2022. The increasing demand for kaolin from various end-use industries, such as paper, ceramics & sanitary wares, fiberglass, paints & coatings, rubber, and plastics, is expected to drive the growth of the kaolin market during the forecast period. Kaolin distinguishes itself from other industrial clays, owing to its fine particle size, increased brightness, and pure coloring.
Rising government spending in emerging economies such as India and China, has resulted in expansion of construction industry. This is expected to contribute toward an increased demand for kaolin.