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Legislation and Imerys’ Performance Minerals North America Product Portfolio
As you are probably aware the European Parliament and the Council have adopted, on 18 December 2006, a new EU regulatory framework for chemicals known as REACh (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals). The REACh Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 30 December 2006 and entered into force on 1 June 2007.
Amongst other obligations, REACh will require the registration of chemical substances, followed by an evaluation process. In this process the substances on their own, in preparations or in articles are evaluated in respect to health, safety and environmental aspects when manufactured, stored and used. The registration process will stretch over the next 11 years and was preceded by a pre-registration phase (1 June 2008 – 1 December 2008).
While the exact details of the implementation are not known yet, Performance Minerals North America (PMNA) has appointed Dr Chris Paynter, as Director of Regulatory Affairs, to our REACH Implementation Team with Mr Geoff Bennett of our UK legal entity (Imerys Minerals Ltd.) as our “only representative” within the EU. The team is carefully assessing the impact of the legislation on our business and product portfolio. The objective is to ensure timely REACh compliance with no or minimum business disruption for our customers.
Our current position, with respect to our different minerals, is described below.
Article 2 7(b) and Annex V; point 7 of the REACh Regulation (EC) 1907/2006, explicitly exempts "minerals which occur in nature, if they are not chemically modified" from registration and evaluation. Such a registration is deemed inappropriate or unnecessary for these substances and their exemption from these requirements does not prejudice the objectives of this Regulation. Many of PMNA’s products fall under this exemption and thus will not be registered. These include our ground limestone (calcium carbonate); our kaolin and ball-clay and our mica and feldspar products.
For calcined minerals (e.g. calcined kaolin), the Industrial Minerals Association – Europe (IMA) holds the position that they should not be registered because the calcination process will not induce a chemical modification. Consequently, calcined minerals would benefit from the exemption granted to minerals. However, this position might not be shared by some non-IMA members; therefore IMA recommended pre-registeration before 30 November 2008. Imerys pre-registered our calcined kaolin portfolio by this date.
Products from our stearate modified ground limestone (calcium carbonate) portfolio are surface-modified minerals. These products result from a modification of the mineral particles with a coating agent solely intended to give a specific physicochemical characteristic. The coating process only occurs on the surface of the mineral particles used as the substrate substance. According to the above definition, a coated mineral is a chemically surface treated substance and it is Imerys’ current position that a coated mineral should not be registered as such under REACh, but that the following requirements should be fulfilled.
Registration of the basis substance (i.e. the minerals) unless exempted in Annexes IV or V (see above)
Registration of the surface treating substance (i.e. the coating) unless exempted by the legislation (see below)
This statement is supported by the “ECHA Frequently Asked Questions on REACh by Industry”, Version 2.2 published on 4 June 2008. ANNEX II
Item 9 of ANNEX II, Version 2.2 published on 4 June 2008 “EXEMPTIONS FROM THE OBLIGATION TO REGISTER IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLE 2(7)(b)” of the REACH legislation exempts vegetable fats, vegetable oils, vegetable waxes; animal fats, animal oils, animal waxes; fatty acids from C6 to C24 and their potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium salts; glycerol . Therefore, the surface treatments used by Imerys are exempted from pre-registration. PMNA did not pre-register our stearate modified ground limestone products.
Synthetic minerals will be required to be registered under REACh legislation, although the specific case for precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) remains unclear. PMNA pre-registered our PCC products by 30th November 2008.
PMNA will continue to closely monitor the development of the REACh legislation working in conjunction with our European businesses and the IMA and will be providing stakeholder input into the legislative development process. We will endeavour to keep our customers informed of any material changes in our position with respect to this legislation as they occur.
For further information please contact us.