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Resource Extraction

Absorbent Products Leaves The Land Better Than How They Found It

  • Aug, 06 2013
  • Industry Sector:Resource Extraction


Absorbent Products Ltd. (APL) has been in operation since 1989 and is the sole producer of food grade diatomaceous earth in Canada, as well as one of only two producers of bentonite.

APL’s mine site near Red Lake, BC contains a unique, natural blend of diatomaceous earth and calcium rich montmorillonite that forms the basis of most of the company’s products. The materials mined from this site as well as a mine site in Princeton, BC are processed from raw minerals into finished products, all within the company’s processing plant in Kamloops, BC.

Absorbent Products has set out to operate in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. The company believes in sustainable development and strives to minimize the amount of land that is disturbed during their operations as well as to return all used land to its natural state and, in some cases, leave it more productive than surrounding areas that have not been disturbed.


In Absorbent Products’ efforts to create a sustainable future, they focus heavily on the reclamation of their mine sites.

In 2007, they purchased a 1000 acre ranch adjacent to their Red Lake property – land that is used for grazing cattle. When an area of the mine has reached the end of its production period, the area is reclaimed and continues its lifecycle as an addition to the ranch’s pasture lands, expanding the grazing land that is available.

As there are no rivers or streams in the company’s mine sites and their deposits do not generate any harmful leachates, APL is able to operate without disturbing land beyond the limits of their mine site.



Absorbent Products is currently ahead of schedule in completing mine reclamation. Due to these efforts and the incorporation of leonardite from the company’s deposit (the first known deposit in BC), reclaimed land, and surrounding areas that have been previously unusable, are often more productive than before the mining process.

Additional sustainability initiatives include:


  • Research and develop projects to develop products that utilize all mined materials. Most companies producing similar products will treat undersized material as waste however at APL it is packaged as a unique product or processed and recycled back into a standard product.  As a result, the company is able to use approximately 98 per cent of the material that is transported from their mines to their processing facility, reducing waste and minimizing and the amount of material that is required to be reclaimed.


  • Reduced electricity consumption by 6% and natural gas by 10% per tonne produced in 2002.


  • Reduced their carbon footprint by upgrading key pieces of equipment at their mine site.


  • Completed capital expenditures which will reduce natural gas consumption by at least 10%, with additional savings being possible.


  • Emissions that are well below Environmental and Air Quality permit levels, with only dust and water vapour being release from the plant. Dust emissions are approximately 50% of the level allowed in the company’s permits.


  • Continuous education and collaboration with business partners. Many of Absorbent Products’ employees have attended several courses on efficiency and emission reduction. As well, the company works together with their current packaging companies and other suppliers to review more environmentally friendly measures that can be taken during the production process.


  • Through the Climate Smart Initiative they were successful in achieving their emission reduction by 7% from their baseline last year. Reduction strategies completed include upgrades to T5 motion sensing lighting throughout the plant and warehouses as well as efficient machinery upgrades. Reduction strategies for the upcoming year have also been initiated and include major modifications to their dryer which will increase efficiency and reduce runtime and emissions.


  • As much product packaging as possible is fully recyclable.


  • Do not use excess packaging. When products are packaged they are bagged and shipped with the most minimal packaging possible, in an effort to reduce or eliminate waste.

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