Imerys in the UK
The Melbur kaolin open pit mine in Cornwall.
Kaolin, ball clay and calcium carbonate for paints, polymers, ceramics and cosmetics - to name a few
Our Cornish kaolin business has a long history in the UK. Kaolinite or ‘china clay’ was first discovered at Tregonning Hill as early as the mid 18th century and by the early 20th century, the Cornish kaolin was dominating world porcelain production. Today, Imerys continues to be a mainstay of the Cornish economy, employing around 1,000 people working at over 20 mining and processing facilities in the county. Our Cornish sites produce around one million tonnes of kaolin each year, transformed into sophisticated engineered minerals which are prized not just for high-end ceramics, but for a wide variety of end applications including, paints, adhesives, plastics, rubber, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, paper and cardboard. Our state-of-the-art R&D center at Par Moor in southeast Cornwall spearheads research into sustainable solutions which anticipate and meet our customers’ changing needs. China Clay has also been extracted from the Lee Moor area on the edge of Dartmoor for over 175 years.
The origins of our Ball clay operations can be traced back to the late 1700s at our Devon (Newton Abbot) and Dorset (Wareham) operations. Today, the two sites focus on the production of rare ball clays valued for their plasticity as a base material in the manufacture of sophisticated sanitaryware and white ceramic tableware. Our Devon and Dorset ball clay facilities employ around 50 people at 8 extraction sites and 2 processing plants.
In addition to kaolin production, Imerys also operates three world class industrial sites in the UK producing ground and precipitated calcium carbonates, located in Staffordshire (Stoke on Trent), Cheshire (Lostock) and Yorkshire (Beverley). Our chalk quarry and processing site at Beverley started life back in the 1800s producing 'whiting', a white chalk used in metal polish, putty, whitewash and paint. The first well-known Winnofil® precipitated calcium carbonate grades rolled off the Lockstock driers in 1952, and our Stoke on Trent site has been producing ground calcium carbonates for decades. Today, our premium calcium carbonate grades find uses in a broad array of industries including construction, paper, paint, plastics, rubber, adhesives, food and pharmaceuticals and agriculture. Our calcium carbonate sites number more than 50 employees.
Calcium aluminate binders for wastewater, refractories, metallurgy and building chemistry
Acquired by Imerys in 2017, but with a history spanning over 90 years, our West Thurrock plant in Essex (formerly known as Kerneos) is a leading supplier of fused and sintered calcium aluminate binders - including hydraulic binders - and specialty additives. The 5-hectare site serves the European building chemistry, wastewater infrastructure, refractories, metallurgy and the mining industry with benchmark products sold under flagship brand names such as Sewpercoat®, Ciment Fondu®, Secar®, Ternal® and Fondag®. The UK aluminates branch employs over 60 people.
Our UK operations in Devon and Dorset also supply ball clays and chamottes with a high alumina content for use as binders in refractory brick production or as additives to improve plasticity during refractory installation.
Careers at Imerys
Imerys provides interesting and challenging learning and development opportunities within all aspects of our business, we aim to lead and guide you to make the most of your talent and to supply you with the tools to succeed in your role.
Come join us on our journey as the essential mineral solutions provider!
Learn more about our UK company employee benefits.
I love working for Imerys! We have a great team here, everyone is incredibly supportive and I have had so much encouragement along the way. Being the only woman on the team is no issue at all and I would encourage anyone to give this a try. Imerys has such a strong legacy in this area and I am proud to be part of that. I look forward to progressing my career here as I can see so many opportunities!
Imerys has its own ‘grid’ as we have solar panels and wind turbines on our land to help generate our own electricity. As a result, we have substations everywhere which need attention. Working on the ‘subs gang’ as I do, means I have been able to learn on the UK’s largest private energy network - which is an incredible experience.
Key product ranges
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Representing only 0.1% of global cement usage, calcium aluminate specialty binders are true enablers in the world of construction, allowing builders to save time, boost productivity and leverage many innovations and sustainable options.
Versatile, strong, resistant, long-lasting, mostly natural, chemically inert, easy to clean with hygienic characteristics — it’s easy to see why ceramic products and their applications are so very popular. They are part and parcel of our daily lives, from the roofs above our heads to the tableware we dine from, from the sanitaryware to keep us clean and refreshed to the electrical appliances around us.