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Underwater (submarine) volcano ash sedimentation in the seawater 20 million years ago led to clay formation that is found in large quantity in Guria region. Professor Fersmann first discovered bentonite clay in Georgia in 1913. When the professor began his expedition, Georgia belonged to the Russian Empire. Bentonite clay, discovered by Professor Fersmann, was later named Askani bentonite clay after its geographical location. In 1946, Academic Al. Tvaltschrelidze officially opened the first bentonite quarry in Mtispiri - a village in Ozurgeti municipality. Mr. Tvaltschrelidze also founded Caucasian Institute of Mineral Resources in Tbilisi (referred to as “КИМСИ“ in the Soviet period), which conducted profound research of bentonite clays, including their chemical composition, unique characteristics and usage methods. The extensive research, which lasted for decades, concluded that Askani bentonite clay group is one of the best of its kind in the world.
Askani bentonite clays were quarried in large quantity during the Soviet period, amounting to 120 000 tons annually. Askani bentonites were considered the highest quality product. Bentonite quarry successfully supplied large factories and facilities, including the following: “AvtoVAZ” (Russia, Tolyatti), Yaroslavl Factory of Mechanical Engineering, Kamaz Truck Manufacturing, Gorky and KrAZ automobile plants, all mechanical engineering factories of Belarus, wine production, oil well construction, oil and fat processing plants. Later, due to the well-known historical events (collapse of the Soviet Union), clay quarrying paused for some period. However, despite problems, new stage of bentonite quarrying commenced in 2011 in Ozurgeti Municipality, which is associated with the opening of Vanisqedi and Uchkhubi quarries for Askani bentonite clay extraction. It has to be necessarily noted here that the clay of this area is considered be of the highest quality, as far as its natural chemical composition excels over the characteristics of its counterparts and similar material. It has to be further added that Uchkhubi and Vanisqedi quarries possess the supply of tens of million tons. Between 2011 and 2015, Askani bentonite clay (newly quarried supplies) was exported to the European market. Role of Poland is of special significance as far as this country was the first one to import the new minerals, which later received general approval. Since that time, the demand has been rapidly growing, involving post-Soviet and west European countries (Germany, Italy, Scandinavian Countries, etc).
Our best efforts have resulted in the construction of a new facility of the latest standards in Dvabzu, a village in Ozurgeti Municipality. The facility is equipped with all types of relevant technology (German made) and is ready to meet any demands of the customer. The facility includes the latest standard laboratory that provides incessant quality control, thus ensuring the stability of high quality production (reliable quality of the supplied product). At the first stage, the facility shall employ about 250 employees of high qualification and gradually increasing their number. Remuneration is high and stable. The facility stands out with highly qualified and competent management, well-qualified staff, and technology that meets any challenge of latest requirement, ultra-modern laboratory, high quality quarrying and processing. All this ensures complete stability on the foreign and home markets.