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About: The Mud Tank vermiculite mine in Central Australia is owned by French mineral group Imerys who purchased it off Imdex Limited in 2002. It is located in the Northern Territory approximately 160 kilomertre north east of Alice Springs.

First Interest Shown in 1940

The history of the Mud Tank Mine goes back as far as 1940 when exploration of the area began with a title being granted in 1986. This exploration title led to an economically viable resource of vermiculite being identified on the slopes of Zircon Hill. Open pit mining operations at Mud Tank began in 1996 following the construction of a processing plant that was needed to produce vermiculite concentrate. Facts relating to the Mud Tank Mine are as follows:

  • Vermiculite at Mud Tank uses a dry beneficiation plant that processes the ore after it is extracted from the open pit, crushed and made into a concentrate, using both wet and dry processing technology.
  • The deposit at the Mud Tank Mine contains between 70 and 75 percent vermiculite and following processing this is increased to a concentrate containing between 90 and 99 percent vermiculite.
  • The concentrate is graded according to its flake size. The larger the flake size the greater the price the company can demand for the product.
  • The final product is placed into plastic lined Bulka bags and taken by road to Alice Springs. It is then taken to either Adelaide or Melbourne by rail where it is shipped out of the country for exporting overseas.
  • Vermiculite has been used by industry for almost 100 years for horticultural, agricultural and construction purposes.
  • It is a silicate containing hydrated laminar magnesium-iron that looks much like mica.
  • To the beginning of July 2000 the Mud Tank Mine had produced 11,699 tonnes of vermiculite.
  • Current known reserves indicate a mine life of at least 20 years.
  • Imerys a Truly Global Mining Company

    The owner of the Mud Tank Open Pit Mine in Northern Territory, Imerys, is a multinational French company that focuses on processing and producing industrial minerals. The company operates in 47 different countries around the world and employs approximately 15,000 people. Its main role is the mining and processing of mineralised rocks for other company's involved in the construction , manufacturing and agricultural industries.

    Workforce Welcomed by Locals

    The Mud Tank Mine is located in a very isolated part of Australia. This requires the workforce having to be flown in to carry out their work and flown out again at the completion of their rostered shift. It is the only vermiculite mine in Australia therefore all workers have to receive on-the- job training. When rostered on the mine workers live in camp accommodation provided by the company. Their presence is welcomed by others in this sparsely populated area of the country as they are encouraged to take part in local Harts Range activities such as rodeos and picnic races. A notable annual event is the local police versus the Mud Tank workers cricket match. Another popular pastime is the golf tournaments although it has to take place without the usual greens enjoyed in other less harsh environments.

    No Blasting Required at Mud Tank Mine

    Mining at Mud Tank Mine doesn't require any blasting to remove overburden. This is easily stripped away by dozers and stored for later regeneration purposes. Visiting fossickers are made welcome to fossick through the stockpiled overburden in search of various minerals.


    Imerys is an international supplier of high-performance minerals to various industries that assist in processing and treatments. Our products include the following naturally occurring minerals - clays, calcium carbonates, kaolins, mica and feldspars.As leaders in our field we are able to more


    Locked Bag 8002
    Richmond East, VIC 3121


    Phone02 8345 7900

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