The Sears Mine is historically the only known technical grade clay on the West Coast of North America significant enough, and within a viable proximity to markets, to warrant commercial production for large scale commercial production. It is located in California’s Southeastern San Joaquin Valley, covering 160 acres with established permits for extraction and reclamation dating back to 1992.
Rio Blanco Development acquired the Sears Mine with a clear focus on customer needs and markets. To achieve this, the Company has reviewed world-renowned experts in Clay to create a standard for the characterization, quantification, and commercialization of this unique mineral. As a result of these efforts, Rio Blanco is committed to delivering commercially consistent product grades of the highest quality technical grade mineral powders in the world.
A Brief History of the Site
- 1928: William Sears has Clay analyzed and added to list of minerals with economic importance
- 1948: Paul Foster begins mining (Quit claimed 1951)
- 1955: Mineral Lease signed by Jerry Womack
- 1961-1968: Sand and Gravel Operation in full production from (witnessed by USGS Survey 1964)
- 1988: New lease signed by Womack and assigned to Design Bond International
- 1991: Design Bond International files permits to begin Surface Mining
- 1993: 20,000 tons of Overburden removed (per mining plan)
- 2001: Following Four 2-year extensions DBI ceases mining
- 2002: RMA Marvin Demmers Final Inspection received by state without signature of surface owner, or mineral owners. Signature required pursuant to the condition of the property