Perlite giant buys local company

Perlite giant buys local company

Perlite mining giant Imerys Performance Materials completed the purchase of Cornerstone Industrial Minerals Corp. on Wednesday, April 15, for an undisclosed sum.

Cornerstone owns one mine in the Tucker Hill area of Lake County, along with a processing plant in Lakeview and one in Florida. In 2019 the company generated $12 million dollars in revenue. In a report of first quarter of 2020 results Imerys CEO Alessandro Dazza, stated that they are “strengthening its offering in the attractive agriculture and horticulture markets.”

Cornerstone Industrial got its start in Lakeview in the early 1990s with the building of its plant and its perlite mine opening. It was not the first company to mine perlite in the region as local prospectors staked claims in the late 1940s to outcroppings in the region. Small scale mining began in 1954, which it remained until high-scale deposits were identified by geologists just south of the older mining claims. After an evaluation of the site, including core samples, a decision was made to expand the operations and to began more active development.

For years Cornerstone shipped material out on the rail line to Alturas, Calif., where it hooked up with the main Union Pacific line. Most of the product made at the plant was destined for the agricutlutre and horticulture market.

Perlite is a type of volcanic glass created when volcanic obsidiain glass becomes saturated with water over a long period of time. Perlite has often been used as fertilizer since around 300 BCE when its properties were identified as beneficial to farmers. Besides being useful in fertilizers and other products for farming, perlite is used for industrial purposes in plasters, masonry and ceiling tiles.

Imerys, the new owner, has plants across the world and is heavily based on using perlite in paints, coatings, filtration, ceramics, renewable energy and paper markets.

The company got its start 1880 when it was known as Penarroya, the Rothschild family merged their metals and mining businesses together.

Since the 1970s the company has been branching out to other regions in the world, acquiring mines and manufacturing facilities to further expand their offerings and operations.

According to Melissa Noebes, communications director Imerys Performance Minerals – Americas, one of the reasons behind the purchase of Cornerstone was that the perlite in the Lake County area is considered some of the finest available in the world for horticultural applications; as it improves aeration of the soil, along with modifying the soil substructure, which helps keep the soil loose and well draining.

Jim Murberger, SVP Performance Minerals Americas said, “Cornerstone holds a unique market position, which aligns well with our Filtration and Life Sciences business. This acquisition allows Imerys to continue building on our presence in this important growth market, as we work to maximize our perlite business.”

Imerys is extremely positive about the Lakeview plant and its impact that it will have on the Imerys portfolio overall, as it will give a bigger market for perlite from Lake County to be sold across the world.

Currently the Imerys team is working on integrating the factory and its workers into the new company.

Amanda Glaser, VP Filtration & Life Sciences, said, “The Cornerstone team is a great addition to our organization. I am really impressed with their professionalism and commitment to serving customers. We are ready to move forward together. I believe that our combined strengths and capabilities will help us better serve these fast-growing markets.”

Cornerstone will become part of the Performance Minerals Americas division and operate within the Filtration and Life Sciences business.

Imerys has its world headquarters in Paris, France, and its Americas division is based in Roswell, Ga. In 2019 Imerys had 4.4 billion Euros in revenue and 16,300 employees.

For more information contact Noebes at Melissa.noebes@imerys.com.

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