Contact Us: 011 824 4600 - Email:
Mining Attapulgite At Matutu


Attapulgite, which is also known as Palygorskite, is a magnesium aluminium phyllosilicate with the scientific formula (Mg,Al)2Si4O10 (OH)•4(H2O). The Attapulgite mineral naturally occurs in a type of clay soil and it is known as one of the types of fuller’s earth.

The name “attapulgite” is derived from the town of Attapulgus, which is situated in the United States of America in the southwest corner of Georgia, where the mineral is abundant and surface-mined.


Matutu is a supplier of Attapulgite Clay from the North West province. The mine has more than 1 000 000 tons measured reserve, meaning that mine still has a long life ahead of it. The clay at Matutu is known for its purity and low quartz content ensuring the best physical properties. The selective, open cast surface mining techniques used at Matutu ensures that only the best quality of the mineral is mined and used for its various applications. Matutu’s Attapulgite has been applied as viscosity modifiers and other high quality products. Matutu Absorbents packs and sells the product to the public in bulk, bulk bags, and even in as small as 5kg bags!

Matutu Absorbents is currently operating a crushing and drying plant located on the Matutu Mine site. The process consists of a primary crushing and screening plant that breaks the clay lumps into manageable sizes and a drying plant. The drying plant consists out of a 12 meter long rotary kiln and final product screening is performed by high efficiency Sweco style round separators.

The advantages of the process is that:
• It ensures low moisture product even during the rainy season
• Accurate sizing of the product (some products below 1% dust)
• Cost effective processing of the clay
• The ability of producing value-added products

The plant currently has a capacity of some 1500 tons per month of dried product. The plant is continually being upgraded to further increase capacity and efficiency.


Mining Attapulgite At Matutu

Trucks transporting attapulgite from the open cast mine to the crushing and drying plant at the Matutu mine site. Photo: Gerbrand Haasbroek


Matutu Absorbents mines/crushes/dries/calcines and screen its high quality attapulgite clay (Magnesium phyllosilicate) into various size fractions. This is dependent on the customer and the application of the absorbent. The clay has a very specific straw like structure with crystals having an aspect ratio of 100:1 The diameter of the clay “chains” being less than 1 micron. This clay is not a swelling clay but has very specific thixotropic characteristics that is used in certain applications such as oil well drilling muds – more specifically in sea water environment.

Although the clay is highly absorbent after drying, by applying a further heating process (calcining) crystal water is removed in a temperature range of 250 to 600 degrees Celsius (This is not free water but rather water associated with the clay crystals)
This process activates the clay leaving charged sites – where the negatively charged OH ions have been removed. Due to this the clay becomes activated and it now has the ability to absorb heavy metals, water, colour and volatile chemicals in oils and other liquid products.
This activated clay can now be placed in a columnar vessel – with a screen at the bottom to retain the clay particles. When dirty oil, for example, is introduced at the top of the column it filters out residue and absorbs heavy metals and also neutralises the oil hereby restoring the viscosity and clarity of the oil.
Other processes are also used, where fine activated clay is mixed with the oil at temperature and stirred for a period enabling the reactions to take place. Once this is completed the oil can be filtered to remove the clay and impurities, once again leaving a cleaned oil.
These clays can also be acid activated where the acid reacts with the clay and creates activated (charged) sites that then allows colour and smells to be removed from a variety of edible and other oils.


Attapulgite is primarily used for pet litter, oil well drilling applications, liquid fertilizers, absorbents and desiccants. The mineral is used in various other applications which includes:
Medicine and cosmetics
Highly refined, pulverized Attapulgite is used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry. Medicine containing Attapulgite is taken orally, and it physically binds to acids and toxic substances in the stomach and digestive tract. It is also believed to work as an antidiarrheal, by absorbing the bacteria or germ that may be causing the diarrhoea.

Cat litter
Attapulgite make an excellent cat litter medium. The litter absorbs the liquid. It can remove the bad smell, while preventing bacterial growth and keeping the air fresh at the same time.

Attapulgite is also used for liquid fertilizer and as a carrier for pesticides.

Bleaching clay
Activated Clay is commonly used to remove surfactants and additives from jet fuel, kerosene, diesel and other fuel oils. It also removes products of oxidation and acids from hydraulic and lube oils.
Attapulgite also removes acids, are used as oxidation products, surfactants, additives, soaps, colours (Attapulgite was one of the main ingredients the Mayan’s used to make their signature colour – “Mayan blue”), and also removes other soluble contaminants from Jet Fuel, Lubrication Oils, Hydraulic Oil, Quench Oil, Insulating Oil, Mineral Spirits, and Solvents.

Attapulgite is used for decoloursing, neutralising and stabilizing materials such as resins tall oils, cocoa butter, animal oils, fish oils etc.

Absorption qualities
Attapulgite is available in various grades. It is an extremely effective medium for cleaning oil, grease, hydraulic fluid, water and mildly-acidic spills. Using attapulgite is fast, easy, effective and safe!

Other uses
Gel-grade, dry-processed attapulgite are used in a very wide range of applications for suspension, reinforcement, and binding properties. Paints, sealants, adhesives, tape-joint compound, catalysts, suspension fertilizers, wild-fire suppressants, foundry coatings, animal feed suspensions, and molecular sieve binders are just amongst a few other uses of dry-process attapulgite.

Calcined Attapulgite Matutu Absorbents

Calcined attapulgite. Photo: Gerbrand Haasbroek

Matutu Absorbents Attapulgite

Dried attapulgite – the final product. Photo: Gerbrand Haasbroek

For further information regarding any aspect of vermiculite, please contact Sun Silicates (Pty) Ltd or visit their website





Sun Silicates

About Sun Silicates


  • JaimePlera

    Good post! I read your blog often and you always post excellent content. I posted this article on Facebook and my followers like it. Thanks for writing this!

  • اخبار منتخب مصر
    اخبار منتخب مصر

    Hello,I read your blog named “ATTAPULGITE – AN OVERVIEW, USES AND MINING OF THIS MINERAL AT MATUTU ABSORBENTS – Sun Silicates (Pty) Ltd” like every week.Your story-telling style is awesome, keep doing what you’re doing! And you can look our website about اخبار منتخب مصر.


    Informative article, exactly what I needed.

  • Daniele

    As a Newbie, I am permanently searching online forr articles that can be off assistance to me.
    Thank you

  • Lyn

    I am actually thankful to the owner of this web
    site whoo has shard this enormous post at at this place.

  • Google

    We came across a cool site that you simply may possibly take pleasure in. Take a appear when you want.

  • Google

    We came across a cool web-site that you could possibly appreciate. Take a appear should you want.

  • Elizbeth

    I absolutely love your blig and find almost all of yoyr post’s to bee what precisely I’m looking for.

    can you ofer guest writers to write content to suikt your needs?
    I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on mowt of the subjects you write about here.
    Again, awesome site!

  • Google

    Very handful of web-sites that happen to become in depth beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly effectively worth checking out.

  • Demetra

    I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This paragraph posted
    at this web site is genuinely good.

  • Google

    Please go to the websites we comply with, like this one particular, because it represents our picks through the web.

  • Cecile

    Hello, its nice post about merdia print, we all understand meia is a enormous source oof facts.

  • Claude

    whoah this weblog is grdeat i like studcying your articles.
    Stay up the good work! You realize, msny individuals are
    looking round for this information, you could aid
    them greatly.

  • Michael

    Awesome! Its in fact remarkable article, I have got much clar idea concerning from this post.

  • Cortney

    I just could not go away your website prior to suggesting
    that I really loved thee standard info a person provide for your
    guests? Is going to be again ceaselessly in order to ceck up on new posts

  • Blythe

    We’re a group of volunteers and opening a nnew scheme in our community.
    Your site provided us with valuable info to work on. You’ve done a formidable
    job and our enfire community will be thankful to you.


    I’m amazed, Imust say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s
    both equaqlly educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head.
    The problem is something that too few men and women arre speakingg intelligently about.

    I am very happy I founbd this in my search for something concerning

  • Claribel

    I quite like reading throuh an article that caan make men and women think.
    Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

  • Lou

    At thks moment I am ready to do my breakfast, later than having mmy breakfast cming over againn to read additional news.

  • Iola

    An interesting disussion is definitely worth comment.
    There’s nno doubt that that you ought to publish more about this subject matter, it may not be a taboo matter but usually
    people don’t talk about such subjects. To the next!
    Kind regards!!

  • Google

    We came across a cool website that you simply may take pleasure in. Take a search for those who want.

  • Rosetta

    Howdy would you mind letting me know which web host you’re utilizing?
    I’ve loaded ykur blog in 3 differrent browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot
    quicker then most. Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a fair price?
    Thank you, I appreciate it!

  • Rachael

    Hi to everdy body, it’s my first pay a quick visit of this webpage; this
    website consists of amazing and genuinely excellent material iin supplrt of visitors.

  • Carissa

    Very good site you have here but I was wanting
    to know if you knew of any discussion boards that
    cover the same tipics talked about in thiis article? I’d really
    love to be a part of group where I can get feedback from other experienced people
    tnat share tthe same interest. If yyou have any suggestions, please let me
    know. Many thanks!

  • Charissa

    Hurrah, that’s what I was searching for, what a material!
    present here at this wweb site, thanks admin of this site.

  • Cathern

    I amm in fact pleaased to glance at this website posts which contains plenty of helpful facts, thanks for
    prviding these kinds of information.

  • Archer

    Hello all, here every one is sharing these kinds of experience, thus it’s
    good to read this weblog, and I used tto pay a visit this blog daily.

  • Ashely

    Great blog you have here but I was curious iif you
    knew of any community forums that cover the same topics talked about here?
    I’d really love to be a part of group where I can geet feedback from other knowledgeasble individuals that share the same interest.

    If you have any recommendations, please leet me know.


    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long aas Iprovide credit andd sources back
    to your blog? My blog site is inn the exact same niche as
    yours and my users would definitely benefit from a lott of the information you present here.
    Please let me know iff this alright with you.


    • Gerbrand Haasbroek
      Gerbrand Haasbroek

      That would be fine! As long as you reference our original blog!

  • Niamh

    My family members always say that I am killing myy time here at web, except I know I
    am getting familiarity everyday by reading such good articles or reviews.


    It’s remarkable deswigned for me to have a
    site, which is beneficial in favor of my experience. thanks admin

  • Arletha

    I know this site preswnts quality depending posxts and
    other data, is there anny other website which gives such information in quality?

  • Karolin

    Wow, this paragraph is fastidious, my younger
    sister is analyzing these things, thus I am going to let know her.

  • Nola

    I’ve been exploring for a little bit for any high quality articles or eblog posts on this sort of space .

    Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this site. Studying this infvo So i’m glad to convey that I have
    an incredibly just righbt uncanny feeling I discovered just what I
    needed.I such a lot definitely will make certain to don?t omit this web site and
    provides it a glance regularly.

  • Maxine

    Hi, for alll tme i used to check website posts here in the early
    hours in the brea of day, since i like to learn more and


    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Nonetheless, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll bee book-marking and checking back often!

  • Denise

    Thanks in support of sharing such a fastidious thought, piece
    of writing is good, thats why i have read itt completely

  • Janette

    I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it
    up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website too come back later.Many thanks

Leave a Comment

Sun Silicates Logo

Sun Silicates (Pty) Ltd focuses on supplying high-tech consumable products to the chemical, metallurgical and agricultural industries. The company is customer and performance focused and we ensure our customers of quality products at competitive pricing.

Read More


Contact Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.