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Celebrating World Health Day with Imerys: Shaping healthier futures together

Sunday 7 April is World Health Day, which raises awareness about global health, potential impacts and to promote actions that improve the health and wellbeing of people worldwide.

World Health Day article

At Imerys we are dedicated to supporting global communities and helping play our role in supporting population health; through integrating best practice in our operations, focusing on sustainability in the products and markets we supply, and holding ourselves accountable to strict ambitious sustainability targets to ensure we are truly being enablers of tomorrow.

To celebrate and mark the importance of this day, here's just a glimpse into some of our initiatives and products that play their small role in shaping healthier futures:

Markets and products to support society

Celpure® is an innovative product that plays a crucial role in pharmaceutical applications. It's a high-purity filter aid made from diatomite, which is used in processes like blood plasma fractionation and filtering antibodies and proteins. By ensuring ultra-high purity, Celpure® helps maintain the quality and safety of pharmaceutical products. This means that medicines and treatments derived from these processes are of the highest standard.

Sustainable construction has a significant positive impact on the overall health and well-being of a population. From using eco-friendly materials to promote cleaner air quality, to working to mitigate climate change by reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions, changes in this dominating industry contributes to a healthier environment for everyone.

Our teams are pioneering innovations like insulating mineral foams and metakaolin for sustainable construction, providing eco-efficient solutions for the challenges of tomorrow. Metakaolin is a great substitution of clinker, and Perlite by-products from our Americas operations are being reutilized in sustainable cementitious solutions - both of which have a very significant CO2 reduction impact. 
Mineral foams are an eco-friendly insulation option. They require minimal energy and materials to produce and are fully recyclable due to their mineral composition. Unlike traditional materials, mineral foams don't contain harmful additives and are fire-resistant, making them a safe and sustainable choice for construction.

Health is not just about medicines; but also taking care when it comes to cosmetics. ImerCare® cosmetics is a range of engineered minerals for the cosmetics industry, derived from 100% natural diatomaceous earth, kaolin, mica, perlite, calcium carbonate and calcium silicate.
Offering alternatives to chemicals in cosmetics and consumer goods protects health.

We also offer innovative alternatives to microplastics and chemicals in consumer products, utilizing natural minerals like calcium carbonate and perlite to create safer and more sustainable formulations. Natural alternatives to microplastics are critical in cosmetics and consumer goods. 51 trillion microplastics* litter our oceans, impacting our water and damaging the environment, so alternatives are critical.

*MRBC The Ocean

Our agricultural solutions enhance food security and nutritional well-being while minimizing exposure to harmful chemicals; as well as helping to preserve water cleanliness by using mineral alternatives to chemical products used in farming - such as pesticides. Our mineral solutions also prevent fertilizer deterioration and dust, helping maintain cleaner air around farming sites.

Our Perlite and Zeolite products are used in agricultural solutions which aid this effort. Perlite is used for water conservation, and works to retain water and minimizes nutrient loss. Critically, no chemicals are used during processing and it can be reused again and again. 
Zeolite, added to the ImerFert range portfolio, offers a natural nutrient binder. When used in fertilization, it  helps increase crop yields whilst in turn reducing environmental impact.

Supporting local communities and ecosystems

From socio-economic development and infrastructure improvement to land rehabilitation projects, we are committed to minimizing our impact, and working hard to rehabilitate. By restoring ecosystems and helping to preserve biodiversity, we contribute to cleaner air, water, and soil, which are essential for human health.

In Savins, France a quarry rehabilitation project - located in a prominent farming area - included restoring a three-hectare area of water. The site is a sprawling biodiverse area which is now being used to educate local communities and schoolchildren. 
The project at Provins took eight years in total and, in addition to the biodiversity and land restoration achievements, has had a positive impact in the community.

In the USA, in Sandersville, our commitment extends to long-term planning. Our 25 Year Wetlands project is a fantastic best practice of biodiversity preservation and land restoration. So far, it translates into the creation of a new 60 acre wetland site, plus many other initiatives. Creation of wetlands can have a positive impact on populations; and a surprising amount of benefits for human health. Two such benefits include water purification, as wetlands act as natural filters, removing pollutants and contaminants from water. This helps ensure cleaner drinking water supplies for nearby communities, and also for flood control - wetlands soak up excess rainwater, reducing the risk of floods that can displace people and damage property.

In South Africa, Thabazimbi and Annesley, Imerys has invested in socio-economic development and infrastructure improvement in South African communities, enhancing access to services and promoting overall well-being. Six projects were successfully completed, primarily in mine host communities, with the aim of addressing specific needs and challenges faced by these populations. The initiatives included water reticulation, school facilities improvement, housing projects, and various community upliftment initiatives, which benefited 730 households.

Vatutin, Ukraine - Drinking water pipeline for local community: The project aims to provide high-quality water from an artesian aquifer to the southern part of the Nemorogzh village in two phases, covering 80 households, a school, a kindergarten, and a paramedic station. Phase one was completed in June 2023, including drilling a borehole, constructing a water accumulating facility, connecting electricity, and building a pipeline. 

Sustainable energy through markets and operations

Through our operations and our approach to future markets, we are always looking for ways to create more sustainable energies. By reducing the burning of fossil fuels and looking towards renewable energy sources, we aim to support cleaner air and continue to align with the 1.5 trajectory.

In our markets, we are supporting the shift towards the energy transition. An example for Europe is our lithium projects in France and the UK. Through this targeted investment, in support of the energy transition, Imerys would become the largest integrated lithium producer in Europe, representing more than 20% of the announced European lithium output by 2030. Ultimately, offering a more sustainable supply chain for European car manufacturers, and aiding the push towards the sustainable energy transition through the production of electric vehicles.

In our operations we look for opportunities to switch to low-carbon energy sources. Such examples include our solar panel farms in Bahrain, Lompoc, which will see the reduction of 4,800 tonnes and approximately 7,000 metric tons of CO2 per year respectively.

We also work with partners to achieve energy recovery; such as the initiative in Willebroek, Belgium where we have established an energy recovery plant converting syngas from carbon black manufacturing into steam, powering the site and 40,000 homes while heavily reducing emissions and significantly improving air quality.

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