Miners and Processors of Specialty Clays

IMV Nevada, a division of Lhoist North America since 2012, has been mining and processing specialty clays in the Amargosa Valley since 1972. Located one hundred miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada on the California/Nevada border, the Amargosa Valley is a large desert basin that comprises an area of approximately 600 square miles.

Work leading to the discovery of uncommon clays (sepiolite and saponite) began in 1966, with exploration, primarily to find “white” bentonite; however, other specialty clays were found in addition to the white calcium bentonite.

Industrial Mineral Ventures was founded in 1972 to develop mining claims on approximately 46,000 acres of clay deposits in the Amargosa Valley. The plant was constructed in 1974 and has been in continuous operation with the focus changing in the last ten years from primarily drilling muds to industrial and agricultural applications. Currently, mining claims are maintained on 10,000 acres, of which 5,000 acres are patented and owned outright by IMV. An exploration plan is maintained with a rolling 10 year outlook and extensive ore reserves are identified for future production.

IMV Nevada mines and processes three types of clays; sepiolite, bentonite, and saponite. From these clays a number of products are made for a wide variety of uses in industrial, construction and agricultural applications. Markets are both domestic and foreign. Recent plant changes allow a wide variety of materials to be produced from granular to finely ground powders. IMV is the only known commercial producer of sepiolite and saponite clays in North America.