Ball Clays

Important Notice

Plainsman Clays Ltd. will be closed to public access starting Thursday March 19. We will keep the doors closed (no exceptions), but continue to take and fill orders via phone (credit card only accepted) and e-mail. Pick up orders will be placed on at the front of the building, however we will be unable to assist in any loading. These measures allow us to limit contact with customers and minimize any risk with regards to the COVID-19 virus.

We can be reached by phone at 403-527-8535, fax 403-527-7508 and via email at

Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.

While kaolin is white and clean and considered pure clay mineral, ball clays, by comparison, are generally grey or brownish in color and differ in the following ways:

  • They have a much finer ultimate particle size
  • They contain organic material, especially lignite, that darken the raw color
  • They are much more plastic and suspend better
  • They contain chemical impurities that darken fired color (especially iron oxide)
  • They melt at a lower temperature.

The principal properties of ball clays that make them useful for a range of applications is:

  • Ultra-fine particle size: Ultimate particles can be 0.2 microns
  • Flat-shaped aluminum-silicate particles of high resistance to heat and acid attack
  • Affinity for water: The particles have a surface chemistry that attracts water and holds onto it
  • Surface area: Only bentonite and similar minerals have a higher surface area than ball clays
  • Very high plasticity: They are suitable as binders, suspenders, plasticizers.

Plainsman has a large deposit of ball clay in southern Saskatchewan and has actively mined it since the 1970s. While having the same general properties as other commercially available products (e.g. those from the southeastern US), this has several advantages:

  • Lower shipping costs for the western and northwestern part of the continent
  • We can produce at coarser particle sizes
  • We can custom-blend ball clays with other clays from our quarries to create custom materials
  • Plainsman has very responsive customer service, sales and technical support departments
  • Plainsman can deliver a consistent product quickly.

Product Data Sheet

A2 Ball Clay