New York-based Applied Minerals, Inc. unveiled the Amiron natural iron oxide pigment line at the National Concrete Masonry Association’s premier ICON X-Change earlier this year. Vertically integrated from deposit to market, the company’s Dragon Mine harbors what officials describe as one of the world’s purest in-situ iron oxide resources. They estimate their Utah site contains 3 million-plus tons of iron oxide hydroxide in the form of limonite, goethite and hematite, grading 95 percent on average. Uncharacteristically low trace-metal impurity levels enable use in market applications traditionally served by synthetic iron oxides.
|The Dragon Mine’s 3.3 million-ton iron oxide resource comprises distinctive limonite, goethite, and hematite alongside a deposit of halloysite clay, whose applications include a high performance concrete pozzolan, Dragonite. Applied Minerals mines iron oxide and halloysite clay resources independently and synergistically of one another. Initial iron oxide processing capacity is estimated at 10,000 tons per year, with the potential for rapid expansion as demand requires.
“Characteristics and specifications of natural iron oxide pigments may vary greatly depending on their origin,” according to Applied Minerals-sponsored research from HIS Inc., which points to “a class of so-called advanced natural iron oxides, with characteristics that fall in neither of the usual classes ‘natural’ and ‘synthetic’ iron oxide. Advanced [grades] are characterized by a high Fe2O3 content; exceptional chemical purity, fine grains and good dispersability; good tinting strength and color saturation; low color variation; and, low heavy metals content.”
“The market for natural iron oxides has traditionally been constrained due to inconsistent feedstock quality which results in inferior properties compared to those of synthetic iron oxides,” says Rogerio Galante, who heads the Applied Minerals Iron Oxide Business Unit. “Our Amiron line of products breaks that paradigm, exhibiting a consistent level of purity and demonstrating performance characteristics that exceed those of competing natural iron oxides.
“We have preliminarily sampled Amiron to select customers for several targeted applications and been encouraged by the initial technical feedback. We look forward to penetrating not only the typical natural iron oxide market but also markets that have traditionally been served by synthetic oxides to which Amiron offers a compelling value proposition.” — Applied Minerals, 800/356-6463; www.amironoxides.com
Amiron pigments suit concrete masonry units and ready mixed concrete. The line consists of the following colors: ocher (ASTM D85), raw or burnt sienna (ASTM D765), natural or burnt red (ASTM D3722), and raw or burnt umber (ASTM D763). In addition to their potential at conventional dosages, Amiron products can be specified as natural extenders for synthetic iron oxide pigments, dosed at up to 1:1 ratios.
Applied Minerals’ production plant has fine and ultra-fine milling technologies for batch-to-batch consistency and quality, plus on-site lab equipment including XRD, XRF, ICP-MS, sedigraph particle sizer, BET surface area, and Data Color matching. The company ships Amiron concrete pigments in 50-lb. bags, 100- or 250-lb. barrels, and 1,000-lb. super sacks.