What are borates and why are they important in industry? A 2-minute explainer

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Borates are important but lesser known minerals containing the basic element boron.


Better known to some as borax and boric acid, borates are compounds that come from the fifth element on the periodic table.


Borax, also known as sodium tetraborate, is made up of sodium, oxygen and boron, while boric acid comes from mixing borax with other minerals such as boracite and colemanite.


Boron has uses as a micronutrient for sustainable fertilisers; in metals borates are help protect ferrous metals from oxidation, help harden steel and are used in the production of numerous alloys; form a key part of fiberglass insulation and starch adhesives; have medical uses such as in eye drops, mild antiseptics and bone and muscle supplements; and are used in high tech applications such as adding heat-resistance to glass for smartphones and forming components for lithium ion batteries and supercapacitors.


Borates are mined by such giants at Rio Tinto from its borate deposits in California’s Mojave Desert.


Less well know Cloudbreak Discovery PLC (LON:CDL) this week took an indirect stake in a borate project under a deal negotiated by Temas Resources, a company in which it holds a close to a 16% stake.


Temas has entered into an option and joint venture agreement for the development of Erin Ventures’ Piskanja borate project in Serbia, where it can earn a 50% interest by spending up to EUR10.5mln and issuing shares.


The Piskanja project has an indicated mineral resource of 7.8 mln tonnes, averaging 31% boric oxide (B2O3), and an inferred resource of 3.4 mln tonnes, averaging 28.6% B2O3.

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