Clay minerals are widely distributed in Bolivia; among them, illitic clays are most common in the Altiplano where they are mined for use in the ceramic industry that has been growing in the last few years. In addition to illitic sediments, kaolinitic sediments have been recently discovered in sedimentary units in the Bolivian Altiplano. Residual ball clay occurrences in Devonian sedimentary units were studied as part of this work. Geological mapping and geophysical studies (ERT and GPR) were done for better understanding the origin of the deposits and were part of a preliminary study of the mineral potential to define the relationship with the host rock. Chemical and mineralogical techniques such as X-Ray Diffraction, Scanning Electron Microscopy and Inductively Coupled Plasma analyses were performed in samples from the studied area to verify the presence of kaolinite. Atterberg limits and behaviour of the raw material in ceramic specimens supported by chemical analyses show that this material is suitable for manufacturing tile ceramics. This study provides fundamental knowledge for deposit exploitation and future generation of an alternative source of employment for the inhabitants of Micaya.
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