Recent Research on Saskatchewan Bentonites
I N THE past fifteen years, bentonite production in the United States has increased very rapidly. From l 50,000 tons in l 934, it rose to 400,000 tons in l 942 and to a record 920,000 tons in 1948. Occurrences of bentonite in western Canada were described in the early part of the century by Ries and Keele (3), Ells (2), Spence (4) . and other officer of the Dominion Department of Mines, and, in Saskatchewan, Professo r W. G. Worcester (6) , of the University of Saskatchewan has explored and carried out tests on deposits of the material at various times during the past thirty years. nevertheless, Canadian developments have not kept pace with those in the United States. Exact figures for total Canadian production are not released, but it is probably under l 0,000 tons annually. There are a great number of uses for bentonite, but in the United States three alone account for 90 per cent of the consumption. These a re for drilling gel, foundry sand bond, and oil decolorizer. The tremendous oil exploration programme on the Canadian prairies has increased the possibility of an adequate domestic market for drilling gel. Therefore, in Saskatcl1ewan, our efforts have been directed mainly to the production of a good drilling gel, with a minor part of the project devoted to activation of bentonites for oil decolorizing.
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