Zeolite is a mineral of great value created by nature in the process of Earth development. It is an earth material with specific physical properties that enabled people to discover new possibilities in various spheres of human activities.
During a period of several million years, as a result of of high temperatures and high pressure in precipitated layers of volcanic ash, there occurred physical and chemical alterations that provided for origination of heterogenous group of zeolites, clinoptilolite being the most common mineral in this group.
Clinoptilolite has a three-dimensional framework structure made up of silicon-oxygen tetrahedrons (SiO4)4-, silicon atoms being partially replaced by aluminum atoms (AlO4)5-.
Zeolite spatial structure has a significant amount of pores that aggregate and create channels which trap metal cations or water molecules. Total volume of these pores amounts to 24-32 % of the mineral volume.
The use of natural zeolites began in the 50-ies of the last century when for the first time this natural material underwent a detailed investigation. This was followed by commercial production and application of natural zeolite, first in USA and Japan and later in the European countries.
As of today, clinoptilolite is widely used in many fields of human activities, such as agriculture, livestock farming, construction, environmental protection, water purification and combustion products treatment, as well as in other sectors of industry with the list of such sectors being steadily increasing.
Presently, it is known that there exist about 1000 deposits of 42 zeolite varieties in more than 40 countries of the world. The amount of proven economic reserves exceeds 1,804 bln t, zeolite indicated resources total more than 4 bln t.
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