Deposited millions of years ago, borates are crystallised salts that contain boron.
Boron is a mineral essential to plant growth, so it is used in fertilisers, but it is also used in high tech applications, such as the heat-resistant glass for smartphones, materials for renewable energy – for both wind and solar projects, in wood protection and fiberglass insulation.
Commercially viable quantities of this rare and versatile mineral have been found in a very few places in the world. One is in California’s Mojave Desert, where we started mining more than 135 years ago first in Death Valley and then moving, in 1927, to Boron.
Today our Boron operations, in California’s Mojave Desert, supply approximately 30% of global demand for refined borates, from one of the world’s two largest borate deposits.
Rio Tinto Boron
The mule teams, that hauled borates out of our original mines in Death Valley, are long gone but the symbol endures in the 20 Mule Team® Borax product brand – a symbol of high quality and consistency, supply reliability, technical support and service.
Borates also have a variety of industrial uses. For example, boron is a micronutrient essential to plant growth. Our boron contains calcium-free sodium borates, which are optimal for agricultural use. We refine our borate minerals into boron-rich micronutrient products that help farmers, around the world, grow better crops in greater quantities.
Some of the many uses of boron include: glass, fibreglass, flame-retardants, ceramics, detergents, wood protection, fertilisers, pesticides.