As a mineral, dunite is one of the
few which remains below the radar. It is a medium-to-coarse
grained igneous rock with 90% or more of its volume made up of
Dunite has several end markets,
chief among them being sinter and blast furnace fluxes, EBT
Taphole sand refractories and foundry applications.
In August, Spains Pasek
launched a new calcined dunite product named Calcidun, a raw
material which partially replaces magnesite in refractory
castable gunning mixes, which it says will cut costs for
The cost savings come from the fact
the new product can be used in rates of up to 40% of the total
Since the year 2000, Pasek
has been producing basic gunning mixes with raw dunite,
commercial manager, Enrique Somolinos, told
As a matter of a fact, mixes
with a dunite content of up to 15% were produced with
satisfactory results, but we understood there was additional
potential in it; in particular, focusing on the mineral phases
present on the final basic mix. Our research and development
(R&D) department concluded that our mineral needed to be
treated in order to improve its refractory applications,
By carrying out a low
temperature calcination process on the dunite, it was shown
that a stable content lower than 1% LOI is reached; as a
result, higher contents of dunite may be used in the basic
refractory manufacturing process, he finished.
Pasek said that the product has
been welcomed with open arms by the market because
it reduces manufacturing costs while maintaining a high quality
We have recently finished
both the product development and associated production
investment for this market, as Calcidun requires the
calcination and production of new grain sizes; in particular
AFAs, such as AFA50, AFA100, 0,1/1mm. We have started
introducing Calcidun to some European and US refractory
producers, Somolinos said.
The feedback we have received
from them is really positive, both from the technical and
economical point of view, he added.
Like many other companies, Pasek
has invested a great deal into R&D over the last few years.
This was both in order to stay ahead of competitors and to look
for new market opportunities in different new sectors, like EBT
and other industries such as mineral wools, fertilisers,
fluidised bed sands, ceramics, and others.
We have a strong and focused
R&D department supporting every product development, which
is focused on adding value to the minerals that Pasek Minerales
commercialises, Somolinos said.
We also have collaborations
with companies, like our German partner Weerulin, R&D
centres and universities here in Spain and abroad, in order to
develop new products and applications, he added.
The companys resource comes
from two dunite mines in Cabo Ortegal, Galicia, in north-west
Spain which have been in operation since the 1970s.
The mines currently have a yearly
production level of between 700,000-900,000 tonnes, which the
company could increase if market demand called for it.
Last year Pasek told
IM that it was seeking to diversify its
Eight years ago, the mining
division of Pasek was only present in the blast furnace sector
and had only two products: dunite fines and lumps,
Somolinos told IM.
Today we are proud to say
that we commercialise 17 different products, multiple grain
size distributions for every application, such as the so called
Minilumps 0-10mm, 1-10mm and 3-10mm, some multi mineral mixes,
like the Magdun product line (for sinter applications) and some
other mineral products like pure silex, high quality silica
sands and chamotes, he added.
The diversification has helped the
company to not only offer the market more in terms of products,
but it has also seen Pasek expanding past the domestic and
European market to 15 countries internationally. It is now
looking to expand its portfolio into BRIC, MENA and South East
New partnerships have been formed with logistics companies,
meaning that Pasek can now ship 15,000 tonne cargoes from the
port of Cario, just seven kilometres away from its mine;
larger cargoes up to 70,000 tonnes can be shipped from the