Industry in Sandersville: Kaolin's history in Washington County


    SANDERSVILLE, Ga. -- For those who didn't know, working in a kaolin mine/mining company, is not uncommon in Washington County. It's even known as the kaolin capital of the world.

    Kaolin is a white clay mineral found in many everyday products. In the 20th Century though, kaolin was an $800 million business and one of Georgia's biggest exports.

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    Imerys Kaolin, one of several of Washington County kaolin companies, talked about some of the most important products that use kaolin.

    "Well you know with today's technology, with computers and laptops and you know iPads and so forth, you know paper's going away. So you have scientists and other professionals that are developing other uses for kaolin to go into. And whether people realize it or not, there is something every day that they touch that's part of their lives that kaolin goes into," said Laura Hollie-Mock with Imerys Kaolin.

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    Hollie-Mock said kaolin is in many other everyday items, including paints, rubber, adhesives, diapers, car waxes and kaopectate, which people can take to help settle their stomachs.

    Many years ago, as trucks hauled kaolin down the road, people would pick up fallen chunks and take it as medicine, Hollie Mock said.

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