We operate the world’s largest quartz research and development organisation. Investment in manufacturing flexibility underscores our commitment to reliable worldwide supply. For product designers and production engineers IOTA® remains the highest purity solution.
All IOTA® quartz plants are ISO 9001 certified. Raw materials and services associated with the mining and manufacturing process are additionally administered under our QIPSM, a proprietary quality assurance system designed specifically for its mining and mineral processing activities. On-site quantitative analytical services also support the exploration and qualification of ore, as well as the analysis of process control samples and data reporting.
Analytical services are provided by on-site facilities equipped for real-time quantitative analysis to align to critical performance properties with customer and application specifications.
The world’s highest quality quartz deposits are located near the town of Spruce Pine, North Carolina, USA. Situated in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, the Spruce Pine mining district has been a source of mineral wealth for more than a century. These unique granites were first recognised for their extraordinary sheet mica, which were used as electrical insulation in early vacuum tube electronics. Today, silicon-based semiconductor device manufacturers use Sibelco’s Spruce Pine quartz in the manufacturing chain. From this unique ore body, Sibelco separates feldspar, mica and quartz to yield a quartz concentrate that is used to produce IOTA® quartz, the industry standard for quality and purity.
The alaskites of the Spruce Pine district were created approximately 375 million years ago from magma several miles below the earth’s surface. Many magmatic bodies, called plutons, were emplaced in the roots of the Appalachians in the Spruce Pine District around this time, and there they cooled slowly for 100 million years. Today each pluton is slightly different and possesses its own set of characteristic impurities and accessory phases depending on the complex geochemical processes that led to its recrystallisation.
Sibelco’s IOTA® ore is recognised by its capacity to produce quartz of exceptional purity, low fluid inclusion content and excellent melting characteristics. Nowhere else in the world have the mineral forming processes yielded an equivalent ore.
Mining and manufacturing processes are vertically integrated to convert selected ore into quartz concentrates for further development into IOTA® high purity quartz. With more than forty years of high purity production experience, Sibelco’s innovative mineral separation techniques and advanced quality assurance systems are the foundation of every IOTA quartz product.
To ensure an uninterrupted global supply, Sibelco operates multiple plants and systems for all key processes. We operate two distinct mines and four manufacturing plants in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, USA to produce high purity IOTA® quartz. This includes an interchangeable production system comprised of two mineral processing plants, two high purity quartz production plants and multiple analytical service laboratories. In the unlikely event that one operation is impacted, Sibelco’s dual manufacturing strategy assures a reliable and continuous supply of high purity quartz products. The benefit for IOTA quartz customers throughout the value chain is a qualified and secure supply.
Each of these plants represents a multi-million dollar investment in capacity, quality assurance, and production flexibility. With knowledge of our customers’ applications, and continuous technical exchange to understand downstream requirements, we produce a complete range of standard and custom engineered IOTA® products to fulfill customer process and product requirements.
Through detailed mine planning, exploration and land management, Sibelco maintains decades of reserves to assure long-term and sustainable supply to the market.
While the Spruce Pine, North Carolina, USA ore body is unique, recognition and careful selection of this resource is crucial to produce a consistent and continuous supply of IOTA® quartz. Strict exploration and selection criteria have been developed based upon correlation with end user information. Exploratory drilling is used to identify optimal ore sources. Drill core samples are utilised in our analytical services laboratories to simulate the full range of mineral separation and IOTA quartz production. With sophisticated geo-statistical modeling and proven iterative and predictive testing methods, assay results are used to confirm the quality of the ore. This rigorous testing ensures that only conforming ore will be sent on to the mineral separation process.
- Sibelco operates the world’s largest quartz Research and Development organisation. Headquartered in the Spruce Pine region, our team of PhD research scientists and application engineers is committed to high purity quartz research. Among resources at their disposal is a stand-alone pilot plant facility, fully equipped to simulate the entirety of our processes. Our laboratory and pilot scale capabilities are used for process optimisation, production of custom products for unique customer needs, and development of new products.
Research and Development laboratories are equipped with various microanalysis and application specific instrumentation. Industry related equipment includes Electron Microscopy, Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES), Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS), Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy (LA-ICP-MS), and X-Ray Fluorescence.