From Quarry to Customer

Our focus is on meeting your individual requirements for the widest variety of applications. We identify and acquire appropriate deposits, use resources optimally and produce high-quality products. Each step of the process is assessed, from site identification, through blasting, mining, processing and delivery. We constantly work to discover new uses for our products and optimize practices. By anticipating future applications we will continue to provide you with innovative and value-adding solutions.


Geology and exploration

Lhoist has always invested in developing outstanding exploration and extraction techniques. This allows us to identify lime and mineral deposits that best fit your operations. Over our lengthy history we have built up a deep knowledge of the best way to explore our reserves and use them in the most efficient way for customized products. Our knowledge base and technical expertise have given us a broad understanding of how the market may evolve. This enables us to conceive new technologies to commit our supply for the future.

Mining operations

The way we mine is a perfect fit with our long-term strategy. We create development plans that span at least the next century in order to guarantee supply. These take into account the deposits and quality of rock within them, as well as the expertise, equipment and manpower we will require.

Stone processing

Stone preparation comprises primary and secondary crushing, as well as screening in order to grade products into their respective sizes. These processes may include milling, drying and separation.

There is no single best option.

We always:

  • adapt the technology and flowsheet, based on stone characteristics and requirements of downstream operations
  • select the most appropriate resource for the preparation of each mineral product to meet your precise requirements

 

In the refining process, stone is ground. It may also be dried and milled to attain the specifications required for a range of markets.

We continuously evaluate our processes and capabilities, ensuring that we produce the sizes and quality of materials that best fit the largest number of applications.

Clay processing

In clay processing, extractions of all layers from a number of clay mines are assessed and categorized by their unique chemical and physical properties. Clay ore is extracted under strictly controlled conditions and housed in covered storage sheds. The clay is then aged for a period of time, ranging from several weeks to many months. This allows it to achieve the properties required for  a specific application. When ready, clays are blended to achieve the precise properties required by our customers. All products are assessed for their quality and then shipped to the customer in bags, bulk or as a liquid slurry. Products are sold shredded, dried or air floated or as a water-based suspension.

Calcination

Calcination forms the core of our activities in lime production. At this stage, the raw material is turned into a burnt product – lime or dolime – that offers an extensive range of properties. We have intimate knowledge of existing kilns and kiln technology, and select the best kiln for each purpose and application. Kilns use a great deal of energy. Lhoist researches and seeks ways to minimize fuel consumption, including using alternative fuels where possible. Fuel efficiency is an important component of ecological and economical optimization.

To select the most appropriate technology for a kiln, an understanding of the characteristics of the burnt product you require is essential. We must also be aware of the stone properties available in our deposits.

We work with kiln suppliers to improve kiln design for optimized usage of resources. Expertise and best practices are consistently shared across the Lhoist Group. This ensures that all of our deposits are used to the greatest benefit of our customers and that we are able to exceed your requirements.

Lime refining

This is the final step before calcined products leave the operation to be delivered to you. It is where they are differentiated to ensure they are of the right quality and offer the precise properties you require. Our commitment to innovation and the development of new techniques and products allow us to continue to meet market needs.

Zero-waste policy

Lhoist has a zero-waste policy; all products (minerals and burnt products) are to be valorized. We are continually investigating and investing in new systems to ensure that we are in line with our zero-waste ambitions. Our zero-waste policy respects the environment and enables maximum usage of resources.

Managing by-products responsibly

Lhoist has broad knowledge of and vast experience in the potential markets for lime by-products. Inertization and land filling are handled at a competitive price in compliance with relevant applicable regulations. Another example of where we offer our expertise is in the handling of by-products in the steel industry. Non-recyclable dust collected in the furnace extraction system can be inertized and given a new value as a strengthening material in mines.

Logistics

Due to the nature of our products, logistics constitutes a trade in itself, requiring specialist knowledge.

Since lime, dolomite and minerals change chemically when in contact with humidity, precautions are required to handle, transport and store products that contain them. To ensure professional logistics for our customers, we have developed dedicated and reliable procedures that assure safe and correct loading and unloading.

Our logistics experts and technicians all over the world collaborate closely to find the best solution for the fastest and most effective supply of the products you purchase. Lhoist’s production facilities, as well as our storage and distribution centers, are located in the industrial heartlands of Europe and in North and South America. Via our network, we are able to guarantee consistent and expeditious deliveries using varied modes of transportation: road, rail, river, short- and deep-sea maritime networks or a multimodal approach that mixes transportation means. We have proven expertise and proficiency in the logistics domain. This is complemented by Lhoist's sophisticated VMI (Vendor Management Inventory) offerings and railcar leasing & management, supported by monitoring.

Striving to limit the environmental impact of our operations, Lhoist is continuously researching green transportation options.