In the EP Minerals R&D Lab
In an average day, you probably come in contact with over 100 products that have been manufactured or processed using industrial minerals. Industrial minerals are defined as non-metallic minerals produced from natural sources. Here at EP Minerals, we mine and manufacture products from diatomaceous earth (DE), perlite, and clays. These incredibly high-quality minerals are used in an extremely broad range of applications in every day life. Without these minerals, a vast range of products would simply not exist. Surprised? Consider:
Sweeteners, beverages, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, textile raw materials, edible oils and many other products are filtered or processed with diatomaceous earth (DE), perlite or clays. Special adsorbent clays are used for purification and for catalysis. A few every day examples include:
- If you are indoors, the matte finish on the paint in the closest wall or ceiling to where you are standing or sitting was created with DE
- The red dirt infield and pitcher’s mound on baseball fields is from a special clay
- The water in the swimming pool that you enjoy may have been filtered with DE
- Farmers use DE or clay in their fertilizer as an anti-clumping agent. As a bonus, the DE or clay helps the fertilizer hold water once it’s applied
- If you work in an office, look up, and the chances are that you will see ceiling tiles that contain acoustical perlite and are painted with diatomite.
- If you purchased any fresh meat or fish in the market recently, the odds are that the clear plastic film over the product contains DE.
So how do industrial minerals relate to STEM education during this National STEM week? Science and technology are playing an ever increasing role in new product innovation in the world of industrial minerals.
EP Minerals' scientists at work
Here at EP Minerals, we are committed to consistently innovating, developing and manufacturing revolutionary new products from our minerals. These new products, which we call engineered materials, expand the current boundaries of what our minerals have been known to do, as we work with customers to provide innovative solutions and develop new markets and applications. Some of the recent engineered materials products include an arsenic removing adsorption product for water, a low metals product for the brewing industry, a low dust filtration product for swimming pools and an OMRI-listed organic insecticide.
EP Minerals’ VP of Strategy and Innovation Scott Palm talks about how the company is evolving to meet customer demands: “We’re focused on innovation and new product development with our minerals. We’re creating unique, high-performance products that solve problems for our customers and change the landscape of what minerals can do,” said Palm. “And that changes the requirements for the kind of people we hire. We’re looking for diversity in education and background. Not just mining background but talents in other areas,” he added.
R&D scientists mapping out a new process
“We are one of the only mining companies headquartered in Nevada, and we may be the only minerals company with a research and development laboratory and both business development and corporate engineering departments in the state,” Palm. “We see ourselves as more of a science and technology company than ever before, and that affects the kinds of positions we hire for today,” he said. EP Minerals focuses on four main areas for STEM-related jobs: Analytical chemistry, materials science, applications science, and process science and engineering.
Given the wide range of EP Minerals operations, we look at hiring a variety of STEM talent, including minerals processing engineers, material scientists, chemists, chemical engineers, mechanical engineers, inorganic chemists, geochemists, earth scientists and mining engineers. In our exploration and mining efforts, we’re using advanced exploration and reserve modeling techniques to help us to both find and better understand new mineral deposits. We have been hiring geologists with advanced degrees and with experience in exploration and the use of advanced geologic modeling techniques and software,” said Palm.
STEM education is key to EP Minerals as we develop revolutionary engineered materials for the future. We look for people with the education and technical background to understand our customers’ industries, whether it’s brewing, paint, chemical, biofuel, agriculture or pharmaceutical.
To learn more about EP Minerals and the kind of STEM careers available, visit EP Minerals' careers.