Granulated Ulexite: Where Does It Come From?
Ulexite is a source of Boron that’s commonly used in the chemical industry. Apart from being the main component of Boron fertilizers, Ulexite is also used in glazing, bleaching agents, glass production, flares and much more.
Ulexite is usually not a mineral that is found alone. Instead, it is usually found in combination with other forms of Boron, such as Colemanite, Tincal, and Kernite. The appearance of Ulexite is usually different from these other forms of Boron.
The mineral form of Ulexite usually takes on the appearance of a crystal mass that’s either clear or slightly cloudy. It can also appear as parallel fibers in certain instances.
Where is Ulexite mined in the world?
The mining of Ulexite, together with other Boron deposits, are regulated by the laws of each country. Thus far, Ulexite has been found mainly in Arid regions of countries like the U.S.A., Argentina, Chile, Russia, Peru, Serbia, Bolivia, and China.
Each year, the Boron mines around the world produce about 250,000 tons of Boron, which is equivalent to about 800,000 tons of Boron Oxide.
Ulexite is primarily found in Nevada and California in the U.S., as well as in the Tarapaca region of Chile and in Kazakhstan. Additionally, it is also mined in the Emet, Bigadiç and Kırka regions of Turkey where there’s a huge deposit of Boron.
The companies mining Ulexite usually mine other Boron minerals together with Ulexit and turn them into commercially viable products. Therefore companies usually do not mine Ulexite alone as Ulexite is found with other Boron minerals. As many as 230 different Boron minerals exist in nature, but only less than 10 are commonly found in Boron deposits and are mined commercially.
Ulexite is a Natural Borate Product
The minerals that come from Boron mines can be processed into many different products. However, Ulexite does not need to undergo any more processing. It is usually taken straight from the mines and the rock deposits are cleaned off using a machine.
Larger deposits of Ulexite are cut into more manageable sizes before they are put through a grinder to be ground into a powder. Different companies provide ground Ulexite powder of different sizes.
For a standard agricultural application, Ulexite is usually ground to 2-4mm in size. This is considered the standard size.
Ulexite can also be ground into a finer powder less than 50 μm in diameter. When ground, Ulexite resembles a grayish white powder that is about 35% Boron Oxide (B2O3) and about 20% Calcium Oxide ( CaO).
The Future of Ulexite
Ulexite is, unfortunately, a mineral that is not renewable. This means that once all the Ulexite in the world has been mined, we cannot produce more. The countries with the highest Boron reserves right now are Turkey and Russia.
It is therefore important for Ulexite and Boron mineral producing countries to consider recycling Boron from various wastes in order to produce a viable Boron source for the industries that need it, including the agricultural industry.