Business Area How Natural Resources creates value

Natural Resources is comprised of businesses that are based on the use of minerals and support efficient extraction of minerals, oil, and gas. Typically characterized by high growth, low cyclicality, and a strong orientation toward promising industry trends, overall economic trends and developments in oil, gas, and mineral ore prices are key drivers for this business area.


Functional Minerals

  • Additives for animal feed
  • Additives for paper and detergent
  • Edible oil refining
  • Metal casting
  • Sediment management
  • Special civil engineering and tunneling
  • Stabilizers for the plastics industry

Oil & Mining Services

  • Additive applications for refinery companies
  • Process chemicals for the mining industry
  • Specialty chemicals and services, including intelligent chemical management for the oil and gas industry

A business based on minerals, oil, and gas

With Functional Minerals and Oil & Mining Services, Natural Resources brings two complementary Business Units under one roof. Functional minerals supplies customers with specialty products based on bentonite. This minerals family is comprised of clays that enhance a wide range of products and services. Its unique trait has a high surface area with strong absorption capacity allowing it to bond well with heavy metals and toxic substances. The strategic strength of Functional Minerals, which serves a broad range of industries, comes from a fully integrated value chain, from exploration to bentonite mine operation to processing the material for industrial and customized solutions.

Oil & Mining Services provides innovative chemistry, technology, and service solutions that meet customer needs safely and in compliance with environmental regulations. Oil Services is a world leader in the development, manufacturing, application, and supply of specialty chemicals and services across the whole value chain of oil production. Refinery Services is a leading provider of cold-flow additive applications for middle distillates including diesel, home heating oil, and biofuels. Mining Services is a leading provider of chemicals for flotation, pelletizing, anti-caking/anti-dusting, and filter aids, as well as emulsifiers for explosives used in mining worldwide.

Growth opportunities despite uneven economic development

As Functional Minerals serves customers in a broad range of industries from food to foundry, the overall economic development is its most relevant external driver. While the economic situation in Europe is stable albeit showing little growth, other regions demonstrate more change. Southeast Asia and both Americas are experiencing dynamic growth in contrast to North East Asia’s moderate projections.

In Europe, the partial recovery of the automotive industry, the growing demand for purification products, and the need for innovative solutions in the detergent segment have generated new opportunities for Functional Minerals. In Southeast Asia, continued growth in palm oil production is predicted to trigger higher demand for purification products. Especially sediment processing and feed additives are expected to enhance Clariant’s steady global growth. The areas of metal casting and edible oil refining are also seeing additional growth in emerging markets.

Low but recovering oil and ore prices, and upsides from regulation

For Oil & Mining, fluctuations in oil and mineral ore prices are critically important. Due to sustained low oil prices, the number of drilling rigs around the globe has decreased, particularly in North America. Fewer drill rigs means decreased demand for drilling-related technologies and chemicals. The drop in oil price has also impacted business with refinery customers, and low global mineral pricing presents challenges for our mining solutions business line. There are signals that there may be recovery ahead, however, markets will remain challenging through 2017 with the current forecast that the majority of improvement will be seen in the latter half of the year. Cost control and improved efficiency initiatives coupled with innovation will continue to be key drivers in 2017.

Regulatory developments are also presenting business opportunities. The environmental regulations for chemical additives demand strict environmental control. Oil Services has developed a range of chemical technologies that fulfill these regulatory requirements. For anti-scaling applications in the North Sea region, a special environmental product platform has been developed based on polyaspartates, a raw material that is derived from renewables, which produces enzymatically and biodegrades efficiently. These products have been awarded the EcoTain® label, as they display outstanding sustainability advantages and are best-in-class.

Purification products Due to the high demand for bleaching earths we support that issue by capacity expansion.
This year we will open our new plant in Surabaya in Indonesia and offer more bleaching earth quantities in Turkey based on a new, dedicated milling unit.
Anti-scaling applications The anti-scaling product platform based on environmentally compatible polyaspartates has been awarded the EcoTain® label.
Watch the INVOQUE™ movie

»How can we best restore and protect our planet without inhibiting modernization?«

Fatma Yildiz Art Historian
Istanbul, Turkey

The products and solutions of Business Area Natural Resources aim at the efficient and careful use of Earth’s raw materials, which is especially crucial when close to a dense population. The Discover Value story takes place in Istanbul where contrasting worlds meet each other: the European and Asian as well as the Ancient and Modern. But hanging over this melting pot of ages and cultures is a challenge: How can modernization harmonize with Istanbul to help it flourish for another 1 000 years? Presently 150 ships pass through the Bosporus each day. In the future, not only will this number increase, but so will the ship sizes. Construction projects on the harbor and waterways are unavoidable. So the development of new technologies is needed to protect Istanbul’s people, heritage, and environment.

Interview Experimentation with mud

Hans Hartan, Hydrochemistry consultant (portrait)
Hans Hartan Hydrochemistry consultant

Industrial activity causes silt materials to collect in staggering volumes in our rivers, waterways and harbors. At a rate reaching into the hundreds of millions of tons globally, this sediment requires effective dewatering. Complex treatment is needed in order to accomplish complete recycling of the sediment both economically and with minimal damage to the environment. Hydrochemistry expert Hans Hartan introduces INVOQUE™, a more environmentally compatible dewatering alternative.

How did you get the idea for purifying mud?

Hans Hartan My area of expertise lies in hydrochemistry. I was determined to find a method of purifying and preparing sewage sludge and sapropel created in treatment plants, without having contaminated water afterwards. The primary focus of my work has always been developing environmentally compatible processes. So one day, I went to my hobby lab and got to work.

You really discovered it at home?

Yes. I’ve been retired for a few years now. But in my hobby lab, I have all the equipment I need. For example, I could conduct several experiments, aimed at measuring dewatering speed or regulating water clarity. Having my lab at home was also a way for me to relax.

How did you end up making the breakthrough?

Omya, an international manufacturer of industrial materials, developed a dispersant mineral for the paper industry with large surface area, but one that they had no use for. When I learned of that, I immediately thought it would be useful for dewatering sludge. So, I manufactured synthetic wastewater and then added the mineral. It worked! After just a few minutes, I had crystal clear water and I knew that I had discovered something big. I presented the technique in several places. In the end it was Clariant that recognized the potential and then in cooperation with Omya developed INVOQUE™.

The efficacy of INVOQUE™ is not just a matter of the right chemistry, correct? What else is decisive?

A good dewatering system hinges on numerous parameters. Depending on the type of sediment and its organic components, mixing speed, accurate dosing and desired filtration speed are essential. Therefore, it wasn’t just chemists that worked on the development of INVOQUE™. Rather, it included process engineers, engineers and physicists.

Reduced regulatory pressure

Thanks to the improved environmental profile of INVOQUE™, we are able to reduce potential regulatory obstacles regarding the reuse of water and sediments.

Environmental protection

INVOQUE™ performance dewatering eliminates potentially harmful chemicals with no additional burden on the environment.

Did you know? How much sediment requires dewatering?

Increasing human activity has dramatically raised both the rate of sedimentation and the total volume of sediments globally. Coastal and riverine dredging, mining and tunneling are typical areas of application. As silt materials are often contaminated by heavy metals and other substances, dewatering and reusing sediments is necessary and a challenging and costly process. Dealing with these sediments responsibly is not only a commitment to stakeholders, but a promise to minimize the impact on the environment.

Business Area Value Creation Phases

Idea to Market Information leads to innovation

By engaging in direct, daily business interactions as well as custom-designed surveys tailored to specific market segments, Clariant can focus innovation on meeting the most pressing customer demands. These efforts include developments in digitization and automation, designed to improve customer service through efficiency improvement and cost reduction.

Functional Minerals also conducted major innovation activities in 2016, including the continued market introduction of INVOQUE™ products and solutions for sediment management and the ECOSIL® LE (low emission) technology to reduce foundry emissions from traditional carbon-based lustrous carbon generators in the green sand system. Other areas of R&D focus include high-performance bleaching earths to treat oils with high levels of chlorophyll and carotene for sustainable food production and to purify waste oil for green diesel production.

High-performance bleaching earths Acidic activation of bentonite creates an enlarged surface area that binds with undesired substances and impurities in oil.

Market to Customer Innovation leads to customer satisfaction

Across the Business Area Natural Resources, Clariant engages in regular dialogs with customers to determine their current and future needs, and translates this knowledge into specific customer projects. For example, in Functional Minerals, customer satisfaction surveys confirmed the appreciation of customers and also indicated areas for improvement such as response times. In Oil & Mining Services, the global key account management team was developed and complemented by regional sales and business development teams. This includes the continued investment in processes to improve customer engagement, which has resulted in the successful development of Master Service Agreements with leading oil and gas operating and service companies.

Clariant is committed to enhancing customer benefits while also capitalizing on value-based pricing. In Functional Minerals, for example, simplifying powder detergent formulations with the use of Laundroclin™, a liquid detergent ingredient reformulated as a solid, streamlines the production processes of detergent manufacturers by eliminating at least one processing step. The ECOSIL® LE system for high-efficiency and eco-compatible mold binders not only significantly reduces emissions of aromatic hydrocarbons but in many cases also improves the bottom line for the customer. In Oil & Mining Services, the Clariant Commercial Excellence (CCE) approach to defining market segments with greatest opportunities for profitable growth and increased market share, led to the acquisition of Kel-Tech and X-Chem – two US-based suppliers of specialty chemicals products for land and offshore oilfield operators – to better serve customers in the North American oil and gas market.

Laundroclin™ detergent additives are free-flowing, non-sticky granules of non-ionic surfactants that help formulators avoid risks of gel formation, reactions with other ingredients, or investment in processing capacity.

Customer to Cash Customer satisfaction leads to cash

An effective supply chain and a high-quality process for customer interactions are »must haves« in today’s markets. In 2016, value chain improvements at Functional Minerals included the optimization of railcar fleet movements from Mexico to the US and Canada to avoid expensive emergency shipments by road truck, the change of the process lead system that automatically controls the production of activated earth at Moosburg, Germany, and the shift of customer service from local teams to Global Business Services (GBS). In future, the Integrated Planning Landscape project in Europe should lead to lower inventory levels without compromising fulfilment of customer needs on-time, in-full.

Similarly, Oil & Mining used Clariant Supply Chain Excellence to support the business and customers alike to reduce costs and increase efficiencies resulting in substantial benefits in 2016. For example, forecasting customer demand and addressing potential capacity constraints has improved due to applying two important processes, end-to-end Sales & Operational Planning and Demand & Inventory Planning. This, in turn, has improved the on-time delivery to customers to achieving over 95% performance.

CPX for Base Chemicals Procurement Excellence (CPX) for Base Chemicals in the BU Oil & Mining Services improves procurement effectiveness and category spend, and creates added value with suppliers through joint actions on innovation, growth, and sustainability.

Business Area Key Performance Indicators

Business model

Natural Resources transforms capitals for additional value creation.

business model



Growth potential per year


EBITDA target margin


>2% R&D spend of sales
347 Raw materials procured
in CHF m
80 Active innovation projects
30284 Training hours
1145 Raw material suppliers
31 Production sites (in scope of current performance reporting)
875 Number of raw materials procured
853 Energy consumption
in m kWh


1184 Sales in CHF m
2% Growth in local currencies
16.9% EBITDA margin before exceptional items
3235 Staff in FTE at year end (2015: 2 931)
90% Customers want to continue doing business
81% Customers plan to intensify business relationship
2.77 Production volume
in m t
102 Greenhouse gas emissions
in kg/t production
68 Waste in thousand t
  • Financial capital
  • Intellectual capital
  • Human capital
  • Relationship capital
  • Manufactured capital
  • Natural capital