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Mineralogy and geochemical features of Foumban clay deposits (west Cameroon): genesis and potential applications

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 August 2018

A. Nkalih Mefire
Laboratory of Clays, Geochemistry and Sedimentary Environments (AGEs), Department of Geology, University of Liège, Quartier Agora, 14 Allée du 6 Août, Bât. B18, Sart Tilman – 4000, Liège, Belgium Laboratory of Applied Geology Metallogeny, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, PO Box 812, Yaoundé, Cameroon
R. Yongue Fouateu
Laboratory of Applied Geology Metallogeny, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, PO Box 812, Yaoundé, Cameroon
A. Njoya
Fine Arts Institute of Foumban (IBAF), University of Dschang, PO Box 31, Foumban, Cameroon
J.R. Mache
Local Material Promotion Authority, PO Box 2396, Yaoundé, Cameroon
P. Pilate
Belgian Ceramic Research Center (INISMa-CRIBC) 4, Avenue Gouverneur Cornez, B-7000 Mons, Belgium
F. Hatert
Laboratory of Mineralogy, Department of Geology, University of Liège, Quartier Agora, 14 Allée du 6 Août, Bât. B18, Sart Tilman – 4000, Liège, Belgium
N. Fagel
Laboratory of Clays, Geochemistry and Sedimentary Environments (AGEs), Department of Geology, University of Liège, Quartier Agora, 14 Allée du 6 Août, Bât. B18, Sart Tilman – 4000, Liège, Belgium
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Five clay deposits in Foumban, west Cameroon, were studied for their morphological, mineralogical and geochemical properties to determine their suitability for ceramics. The clays were examined with X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, thermal gravimetric analysis and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. Field studies showed that a homogeneous clayey layer occurs at the upper part of the laterite cover of the interfluves, while the valleys are occupied by a clayey heterogeneous hydromorphic material. The clays are composed of kaolinite, illite, smectite and chlorite, associated with quartz, K-feldspars, plagioclase, goethite, traces of rutile and hematite. Geochemical analyses of these samples show a relatively large amount of SiO2 (45–71%), Al2O3 (14–31%) and relatively little Fe2O3 (up to 11%), suggesting weathering of mainly granitic and rhyolitic parent rocks. The majority of these clays may be used in the production of structural ceramics such as bricks (refractory or not) and tiles. The relatively high proportion of the alkalis (K2O + Na2O; 6–8%) in some samples from Marom and Njindare areas might be responsible for the low firing temperatures. The abundance of smectite limits the application of some Koutaba and Marom clays for structural ceramics, while the high Fe2O3 contents (>8%) in some Bangourain clays indicate that some pre-treatment might be necessary prior to use.

Copyright © Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland 2018 

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This paper was presented during the session ‘CZ-01: Clays for ceramics’ of the International Clay Conference 2017.

Guest Associate Editor: Lachen Daoudi


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