Abstract

Halloysite with tubular morphology is formed in a wide range of geological environments from the alteration of various rock types. Intrusive acidic coarse-grained rocks, such as granites, pegmatites and anorthosite, with large potash and sodic feldspars contents, are subsequently altered to kaolinite, halloysite and other clay minerals by weathering or shallow hydrothermal fluid activity. Processing to separate the halloysite-kaolinite fraction from the altered host rock provides a product which can be used as a paper filler and in ceramics and fibreglass, among other uses, with various deposits in Brazil, China, Thailand and elsewhere. In the Kerikeri-Matauri Bay district of Northland, North Island, New Zealand, volcanic alkali rhyolite was extruded as domes and cooled rapidly with fine-grained feldspar subsequently altered to halloysite. The IMERYS plant in Matauri Bay separates the clay from the quartz-cristobalite matrix with an ∼20% yield of halloysite. The principal market is for high-quality porcelain and bone china that require low levels of Fe2O3 and TiO2. Deposits with high levels of halloysite occur in China, Turkey and the USA. The Dragon mine in Utah, USA was recently reopened by Applied Minerals Inc. and now produces halloysite from zones of up to 100% white halloysite. Smaller occurrences of tubular halloysite are mined in China, Turkey and elsewhere from masses of comparatively pure clay that appear to have crystallized directly from solutions in which Al and Si were soluble.

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