Boron from the air

Boron

Borates

Product

966

Employees

480KT

B203 Production

100%

Ownership

1927

Started

2020 figures

Boron, California

We mine borates, a naturally occurring mineral, from our mine in Boron, California, which we then refine and transform into products essential to modern living. Boron is vital to plant growth, so it is used in fertilisers, but it is also used in other industries such as glass manufacturing, wood protection and insulation fibreglass – to name a few.

Mining at Boron began in 1927 and today, the mine – home to one of the richest deposits of borates in the world – produces one million tonnes of refined borates every year, or approximately 30% of global demand.

Learn more about our borates operation >

Minimising Our Environmental Impact

At Boron, we continually aim to improve our productivity, the safety of our team and to minimise our environmental impact.

For example, we are partnering with renewable energy technology company Heliogen to explore the use of heat from the sun to generate and store carbon-free energy  to power the mine’s industrial processes. From 2022, Heliogen’s system will supplement existing energy sources and reduce carbon emissions at Boron by up to 7% – equivalent to taking more than 5,000 cars off the road. It will also store the captured energy in the form of heat, allowing it to power night operations and providing the same uninterrupted energy stream offered by legacy fuels.

This builds on work, already done, to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 5% per tonne of product through site design improvements and enhanced maintenance. We have also lowered our water use by millions of gallons through recycling – a critical goal given our location in Southern California.

From 2022, we hope to use a mix of artificial intelligence and solar-powered technology to produce steam essential to our Boron operations. It’s part of our commitment to explore new ways to reduce carbon emissions across our operations. 

Growth

In April 2021 we began producing battery-grade lithium from waste rock at our lithium demonstration plant at our Boron operations. The demonstration plant  is the next step in scaling up a breakthrough lithium production process developed at Boron, to recover the critical mineral and extract additional value out of waste piles from nearly 100 years of mining at the operation.

Lithium is used to make electric vehicle batteries and other high-tech equipment. The demonstration plant has a design capacity of 10 tonnes per year of battery grade lithium. It will be run throughout 2021 to optimise the process and inform Rio Tinto’s feasibility assessment for progressing to a production scale plant with an initial capacity of at least 5,000 tonnes per year, or enough to make batteries for approximately 70,000 electric vehicles.

 

We found a more sustainable way to produce lithium – in a place quite unexpected.
Wilmington at night, Boron
Supply-Chain Reliability: Our Wilmington facility at the Port of Los Angeles has been in continuous operation since 1924. The refinery and shipping operation produces and ships more than 36,000 tons of packaged goods and more than 300,000 tons of bulk material to customers in Europe, Malaysia, and China.

Boron Communities

Cultural Heritage

Our mine is operated by our borax business, U.S. Borax, which is one of America’s oldest and most iconic businesses. Originally established in Death Valley, California, the mine’s “Twenty Mule Team” would transport the borates through the harsh desert environment, ready for distribution to customers.

To this day, U.S. Borax celebrates its unique history by bringing the mule team back to life for special events and celebrations, both in Nevada and California.

The Twenty Mule Team in action

In the early 20th century, the small town of Ryan was established to accommodate the hundreds of miners employed at the Death Valley site; from 1914-1927, it was also the centre of borates mining, complete with a hospital, post office, school and a building that served as a church, movie theatre and recreation hall.

In 2013, Rio Tinto turned over the now-ghost town of Ryan to the Death Valley Conservancy (DVC), protecting its valuable cultural heritage for future generations. The DVC is meticulously working to restore the site to its original look.

$93M

Economic Contribution

$149M

Local Procurement

$115K

Community Investment

2020 figures.

Contact Boron

Boron from the air
Boron from the air

Boron

U.S. Borax
200 E Randolph
Suite 7100
Chicago IL 60601
United States

W: borax.com
T: +1 773 270 6500