Seventh grade science students had the unique opportunity to witness up close and personal the inner-workings of the mining industry on Wednesday, May 14, visiting a mining facility and processing plant under operation of Cornerstone Industrial Minerals.
Following a trip to the actual Tucker Hill mine operated by Cornerstone near Lake Abert south of Paisley, buses carrying students and chaperones arrived at the perlite processing facility on the northern outskirts of Lakeview.
It was a chance for students to see first-hand the multitude of benefits from geological resources throughout Lake County in real life situations beyond the classroom. Several stations were set up near the main office, with presentations by multiple staff members and the owner of Cornerstone Minerals explaining some of the many career opportunities in the mining industry, how materials are processed, and the various products that are made out of the perlite that is processed there. Students also had the opportunity to have a guided tour throughout the facility itself to see the actual raw material getting processed into usable perlite, while trucks rotated through the area providing a non-stop supply of raw material freshly harvested from the mine.
Perlite is a volcanic glass mineral that contains a small amount of water. Processing the material requires removing the water through extreme heating, which causes the mineral to expand to up to 20 times its original size. Once the water is extracted, perlite can be used for a wide assortment of products for construction and horticulture. It is a material that is very lightweight, yet has terrific insulating characteristics, making it useful as a potting soil, roof insulation and filtering aids.
For more information on Cornerstone Minerals visit www.cornerstonemineral.com.