Mumbai: The Mumbai-based Ashapura group has floated a 50:50 joint venture company in collaboration with the US-based Volclay International Corporation to manufacture bleaching clay at Bhuj in the Kutch district of Gujarat. The manufacturing facility has a capacity of 30,000 metric tonnes of bleaching clay every year.
The total investment of the project is estimated at Rs 40 crore. Bleaching clay is widely used as a refining agent for various animal and vegetable oils, fats, fatty acids, lubricating oils and waxes. A company official said the Industrial Development Bank of India has granted a Rs 22 crore financial assistance to the promoters to float this new venture. The remaining amount has been put together by Ashapura and Volclay.
The official said the Japan-based Mizusawa Industrial Chemical, a leading technology provider in the bleaching clay sector, is also providing its technical know-how to the JV company. The Rs 200 crore bleaching clay segment in India is growing by around 5 to 10 per cent every year.
The Ashapura group is a leading manufacturer and exporter of industrial minerals, including bentonite and bauxite, from India. The company is the sixth largest producer and exporter of bentonite and its allied products in the world. It has an 80 per cent market-share in the Indian bentonite industry. Volclay is the subsidiary company of AMCOL of the US, which is the world's largest producer and exporter of bentonite products.
The official said the plant will produce a superior quality of bleach clay, which is being imported by India for domestic use. ''The plant will meet over 60 per cent of the requirement of the Indian bleach clay segment. We are also planning to introduce other petroleum grade products soon.''