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About Specialty Minerals Inc.

Specialty Minerals Inc. (SMI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Minerals Technologies Inc., is an international producer of high-performance minerals: talc, precipitated calcium carbonate, ground calcium carbonate, lime, and dolomite. The wide variety of applications for our products includes paper, plastics, adhesives, sealants, paint, ink, pharmaceuticals, food fortification, nutritional supplements, specialty ceramics, inks, building products, agriculture, and many others.

We've been active in the mining and manufacture of minerals for more than 150 years—our Adams, Massachusetts, U.S., operation began mining limestone in 1853. SMI is the world’s largest supplier of precipitated calcium carbonates (PCCs). The world's first commercial PCC manufacturing began in the United Kingdom in 1898, at a plant that SMI acquired in 1998. SMI PCC manufacturing in the U.S. began in 1936 and nano PCCs have been produced for more than 25 years. SMI's over 54 PCC plants are located in 16 countries. 

New products and technology development have been the keys to our success, with SMI sales growing to $628.4 million in 2009, of which $534.7 million were PCC and $93.7 million were processed minerals.  SMI Research and Technology Centers are located in Bethlehem and Easton, Pennsylvania, Kaarina, Finland and in Suzhou, China. These facilities are equipped with many types of advanced instruments. To support the industries we serve, our applications labs are staffed with industry experts.  Among the fully equipped applications labs are those for paper filling and coating, plastic extrusion, injection molding and film blowing, sealants, and health-care tableting and food development. 

Our Parent: Minerals Technologies Inc.
Minerals Technologies Inc. (MTI) is a New York Stock Exchange traded company headquartered in New York City. Total sales in 2009 were $907.3 million. MTI also has a Refractory Segment that produces refractory products, equipment and services for steel, non-ferrous metal, glass and other high temperature material manufacture, as well as pyrolytic graphite.

The base businesses that form MTI were originally part of Pfizer Inc. In 1992, Pfizer combined these base businesses to form MTI. In October 1992, MTI stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) under the ticker symbol MTX.


Precipitated Calcium Carbonate (PCC) for Paper
There are two operating groups within SMI:

  • PAPER PCC
  • PERFORMANCE MINERALS

Paper PCC provides precipitated calcium carbonates to the paper industry from satellite plants located on site at paper mills and from merchant PCC plants. Performance Minerals services all other markets with PCCs, ground calcium carbonates (GCCs), dolomites and talcs.

SMI has a long history of innovation in the manufacture and use of PCCs. Many new crystal structures have been developed that are designed to impart specific performance properties to the products in which they are used. The visionary “satellite PCC plant” concept was developed in the mid-1980’s by SMI for the paper industry. PCC is produced on site at a paper mill with the PCC slurry pumped directly to the paper machine, thus saving the energy and costs of drying and transporting. The products at each satellite plant are tailored to match the needs of the particular paper machine and the paper product made.

The first SMI PCC satellite plant opened in 1986 at a mill in Wisconsin, U.S. There are now more than 54 satellite PCC plants operating in 16 countries. 


Performance Minerals Precipitated Calcium Carbonate
While paper is the largest consumer of PCC, SMI’s PCCs also contribute high performance to a variety of products, especially plastics, sealants and consumer products. PCC is used in ink, paint, rubber, and many other applications. These non-paper uses are served by the Performance Minerals group within SMI.

Products range in size from the 0.06 micron nano or ultrafine PCCs up to the ultra dense 12 micron PCCs. Both the calcite and aragonite forms of PCC are manufactured in shapes that include rhombohedrals, prismatics, cubes, scalenohedral starbursts, and needles. Depending on use, the PCCs can be uncoated or coated with a variety of materials that improve their efficiency and compatibility. They are primarily used in the dry form, but may be available as slurries.

SMI Performance Minerals has three PCC plants, two in the U.S. and one in the U.K. The largest plant is in Adams, Massachusetts, where limestone is mined.  In 1998, SMI acquired a merchant PCC plant in Birmingham, U.K.


Performance Minerals Ground Calcium Carbonates and Dolomites
In the United States, SMI has two limestone and one dolomite (calcium magnesium carbonate) operations where the minerals are mined and ground into a range of coarse to very fine GCC products. Some are coated, primarily for polymer applications.   

The oldest plant at Adams, Massachusetts, has been mining limestone since the 1850’s. We also produce GCC at our Lucerne Valley, California, plant, and at our plant in Canaan, Connecticut.

These ground carbonates are sold under the well-known Vicron®, Vical®, Marblewhite®, RiverCalTM and Dolocron® trademarks. They are used in a wide variety of products including paints, plastics, building products such as flooring, roof shingles, carpet backing, cultured marble, swimming pools, agricultural products, animal feeds, and many others.


Performance Minerals Talcs
SMI has produced talc at our Barretts, Montana, plant in the US since the early 1950’s. The talc is purified, ground, and may be coated.  A plant in Bay City, Texas, manufactures the Optibloc® series of high clarity antiblocks.

SMI has been a leader in the development of high performance talc products. We developed the first talc-based antiblock for polyethylene films, ABT® 2500 talc, and followed with a series of further developments with coated Polybloc® talc and Optibloc® high-clarity antiblocks, which are widely used by leading resin and compound manufacturers.

Important to the automobile and appliance industries are our series of fine and ultrafine reinforcement talcs for use in polypropylene and thermoplastic olefins. The MicroTuff® talc series uses Montana talc and the FlexTalc® talc series uses high-brightness Chinese talc. All of these products contribute high flexural modulus (stiffness), while the ultrafine, 1 micron grades are especially effective at maintaining impact strength.

You will find more information about these products and their applications throughout this website. Use some of the links below to learn more.

 

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