Submitted by Covia
Sometimes it’s obvious that sand is all around us, like when we spend a day at the beach or a child plays in a sandbox. It may be surprising to know that sand is also an ingredient in lots of products and materials we encounter every day. For example, if you’re sitting in a car, enjoying the view through your crystal-clear window, or admiring beautiful countertops in the kitchen, you’re experiencing the magic of sand.
Recently Covia had the opportunity to show a glimpse into how we mine sand at our operations on Tomorrow’s World Today. Tomorrow's World Today (TWT) is an Emmy-nominated television show on Discovery and the Science Channel focused on finding ways to live more sustainably. It was exciting to be featured in the episode, and we are proud of our Team Members who helped bring Covia to TV screens.
We’ll take you through some of our favorite moments from our TV debut, and hopefully, you’ll learn something interesting along the way.
Mining Sandstone in Guion
The first location featured in the episode was our plant in Guion, Arkansas. What’s unique about this plant is that it’s our only underground mine. It’s also one of the sites where we extract silica. Silica shows up in everyday products such as:
However, before our silica sand can be used in products like these, it must be mined and processed. It is because of this, that Covia’s ESG program and goals are deeply embedded into how we operate. It is our privilege and responsibility to sustainably manage a variety of natural resources.
Fun Fact: Sandstone is commonly used in materials in homes because of its durability. Sandstone products can stand up to heavy use and challenging weather conditions, so sandstone is used in everything from paint to ceiling tiles and roofing shingles.
Mining Nepheline Syenite in Ontario (NSO)
Covia’s NSO plant, located in Ontario, Canada produces nepheline syenite. This pure stone is hard like granite and comes in a bright white color.
Blue Mountain and Nephton are not only the largest of Covia’s Canadian facilities, but the oldest continuously operated facilities dating back to early 1930s. Additionally, these sites are Covia’s only hard rock mining facilities, mining, and processing Nepheline Syenite, a coarse-grained high alumina feldspar with no free silica. Blue Mountain and Nephton manage 104 different product configurations, 17 product grades and sell to three major industries including glass, paint and polymers.
Fun Fact: Covia has been mining at this site since the 1930s.
Producing LUMINEX™ at Fort Smith
The last plant featured is also located in Arkansas, a few hours from our Guion plant. Here in Fort Smith, we produce our industry-leading product, LUMINEX. On a tour of the plant, we share information about the control room for the kiln, the heart of the plant’s operations. The kiln can reach up to 1500 degrees Celsius (2700 degrees Fahrenheit) and the control room carefully monitors the sand’s temperature to ensure the sand never turns to liquid.
From here, we explain how the plant screens off the sand to get bagged as our LUMINEX product or sent to the ball mill to be pulverized into ultra-fine powder. This ultra-fine powder is used to produce engineered stone, which is used in the production of kitchen and bathroom countertops.
Fun Fact: Silica fillers are present in many paints, improving the paint’s tint retention, durability, and resistance to dirt, mildew, cracking, and weathering.
Building a Better World for Tomorrow’s World Today
At Covia, we are committed to being more than just a leading provider of high-performance mineral and material solutions. Through the episode, we are proud to show a peek into some of the sustainability initiatives taking place at NSO. These initiatives include habitat conservation and biodiversity initiatives like turtle conservation.
These sustainability practices, plus more, are mirrored at sites across our footprint. In 2022, we received a bronze rating in sustainability from Ecovadis, one of the world's largest and most credible providers of business sustainability ratings.
It’s mind-blowing to think about all the products that sand helps create. Whether you're a manufacturer or a homeowner, you can trust that Covia is committed to operating as a responsible corporate citizen from start to finish.
Contact Covia today to learn more about our role in creating the everyday products. Also, we encourage you to check out our Tomorrow’s World Today episode, “If Isn’t Grown, It Must Be Mined."
At Covia, we are committed to being more than just a leading provider of high-performance mineral and material solutions – we believe that our company can make a positive difference in the world. This belief is what drives our environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy, which is influenced by both our journey as an organization and the events in the world around us.
Our commitment to operating as a responsible corporate citizen has been embedded into every aspect of our business for decades and serves as the foundation for Covia’s ESG initiatives. From our operations to our Team Members and the communities in which we live and work, we continue to define WHAT WE’RE MADE OF as more than the materials we produce, but the impact we can make in every interaction.
In 2021, we enhanced our approach toward accelerating ESG performance by developing our formal GOALS THAT INSPIRE: ESG 2030. These 10 goals, broken into our three core areas - Environmental Stewardship, Positive Social Impact and Responsible Governance & Ethics - were developed by Covia Team members across the company and are designed to drive tangible and measurable progress in areas where we can make the most impact.
We have the commitment and strategy in place to drive meaningful progress and we are pledging to make a positive differences for our people, our planet and our communities.
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