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MINING THE WORLD'S LARGEST BERTRANDITE ORE RESERVE

Materion Natural Resources’ bertrandite ore mine was developed in 1968 in the Topaz-Spor Mountain area of the western Utah desert. Here, the company pioneered the innovative exploration, development and mining technologies that for decades have made it possible and economical to produce beryllium materials. Beryllium ore, which cannot be detected with the naked eye, is often covered by rock layers hundreds of feet thick. Even after it is identified, it must be separated from the high volume of rock.

TECHNOLOGY REVOLUTIONIZES BERYLLIUM EXPLORATION AND MINING

Mine surveying has been revolutionized by GPS, enabling one technician to collect data that once required a survey crew. Survey and drill data are compiled into specialized modeling software that produces the means to more accurately pinpoint deposits, map and design ore bodies, develop new projects and optimize mining activities. A handheld field device known as a berylometer, and detailed maps, are used to provide Materion the necessary quality control required for lifting and stockpiling exposed ore.

INNOVATION IN BERYLLIUM PROCESSING

Since 1969, Materion’s mill in Delta, Utah, has processed two types of ore to extract beryllium – the locally mined bertrandite ore and beryl ore imported from various suppliers. For more than 40 years, Materion and its predecessor companies have been leading suppliers of the beryllium industry’s primary feedstock, high-quality beryllium hydroxide. Solutions of bertrandite and beryl are combined and processed through solvent extraction to concentrate the beryllium and remove impurities. Beryllium is then precipitated through heating, producing a beryllium carbonate that is further heated to high temperatures and converted to beryllium hydroxide. From the mill, the product is shipped to the Materion Beryllium & Composites facility in Elmore, Ohio, to produce metallic beryllium, beryllium alloys and the beryllia ceramic feedstock for the Materion Ceramics business.

ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY TO PRESERVE HABITATS

Materion Natural Resources’ approved life-of-mine mining and reclamation plan is providing habitat for the wildlife populations in the Topaz-Spor Mountain region. Antelope are frequently seen at the mine sites while native plants in reclaimed and reseeded areas are reintroduced in the western Utah desert.