Kitty Litter Helps Wyoming Bentonite Past Drilling Slump
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The market for a peculiar type of clay mined in Wyoming is looking up, thanks to a better outlook for oil and gas drilling and to kitty litter.
Over 90 percent of all bentonite mined in the U.S. and almost half worldwide comes from Wyoming. Bentonite helps with everything from clarifying wine to keeping landfills from leaking.
It's also an important ingredient in kitty litter and in drilling mud, the goop pumped down oil and gas wells during drilling to keep the bit cool and carry cuttings to the surface.
Bentonite mining companies such as Wyo-Ben say they suffered during a recent slump in oil and gas drilling but business is picking back up.
Steady demand for kitty litter helped Wyo-Ben and other bentonite miners through the downturn.