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Latest Mount Sylvia News

Diatomite is a sedimentary earth made up of siliceous fossils of plant algae (diatoms) originally laid down in a fresh water or marine environment

Date: 16th December 2013


To read a descriptive testimonial about this exciting new use for Absoebacide, click HERE.


Date: 9th September 2013



Try sprinkling Absorbacide directly onto the beetles or protect your plants by dusting them with Absorbacide. Remember, that to be effective, Absorbacide must remain dry.


Date:13th December 2011


Not all diatomites are created equal. Only certain types of diatomite are suitable for use as an insecticide. For example, marine sourced diatoms will not kill insects at all and are totally unsuitable for use as grain insecticides. Even amongst fresh water sourced diatoms, the diatomite will vary in its efficacy against insect pests.

Date:15th November 2011


Maidenwell diatomite products appear to be increasingly difficult to obtain and we have had numerous enquiries as to how the diatomite that Mount Sylvia Diatomite produces differs in chemical composition. It should be pointed out that as diatomite is a natural product, its elemental composition will vary depending upon the region mined. By clicking HERE you will see the comparative data.


Date:11th January 2011


The GRDC has undertaken to support a project entitled ""Improved Functionality of Grain Storage Products". The research team will be led by Dr Dusan Losic at the Wark Research Institute, University of SA. Dr Losic is Mount Sylvia Diatomite's partner in an ARC  funded Linkage Grant which has been responsible for the development of new diatomite based products. Also involved in the new research initiative are Dr Chris Saunders at the Univ of SA's School of Advanced Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering and Dr Patrick Collins at the QLD Dept of Primary Industries.

The importance of the project lies in the fact that grain storage pests are gradually becoming resistant to the industry standard  insecticide, phosphine. A cost effective and safe alternative is required and diatomite, which has been around for quite some time, is a likely candidate to step into the breach.

Accordingly, the project seeks to enhance the properties of diatomite to make it more attractive to the grain industry. In particular, it seeks to increase the efficacy of diatomite enabling use of lower concentrations. Further, it seeks to minimise the effects of diatomite on grain viscosity thus making it more acceptable to bulk grain handling authoritries.

The project is set to run over a period of 4 years.


Date: 30/12/2009


Back in May this year we announced partnering up with The Ian Wark Institute of the University of South Australia following the receipt of an ARC Linkage grant which fosters collaborative projects between academia and industry. This collaboration is already producing results.

The diatomite that we normally produce for sale is a mixture of whole frustules (the siliceous skeleton of fossilised diatoms) as well as broken pieces of those frustules. The image below, shows a scanning electron micrograph of what this material looks like.

Scanning Electron micrograph of processed diatomit

 While this material is perfectly suitable for routine applications, more demanding uses for our diatomite call for a much more homogenous product. Accordingly, Dr Dusan Losic and his colleagues at the Wark Research Institute, have developed a technique for eliminating most of the broken frustules leaving the whole ones intact. This is what this purified material looks like.

Scanning electron micrograph of


Date: 25/11/2009


The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants met in Geneva on 12-16 October 2009 and agreed that the insecticide endosulfan satisfied the criteria as a persistent organic pollutant.

While the APVMA have not withdrawn its permits for the use of this insecticide it has posted the following statement on its website:

"Advice from DEWHA on these studies is being sought by the APVMA to determine if further regulatory action is warranted in Australia. Any such action would occur independently of processes under the Stockholm Convention although, of course, the ratification of a Convention decision to eliminate the production and use of endosulfan may automatically lead to de-registration and removal of endosulfan products from the Australian marketplace."

The full announcement can be found here:

Trials conducted by Mount Sylvia Diatomite consultant Michael Sommerlad have indicated that Absorbacide shows promise in dealing with the red mite in poultry. Absorbacide is a safe, non-polluting and sustainable insecticide with activity against many insect pests.We plan further trials of Absorbacide on the red mite with a view to obtaining registration of this product with the APVMA for specific treatment of red mite infestation of poultry.


Date: 19/05/2009


A recent article produced by the NSW Dept of Primary Industry describes the use of a trap at the base of bee hives which  helps to control the Small Hive Beetle (Aethina tumida). Similar traps are available commercially. When the beetle falls into the trap, it is killed by the presence of diatomaceous earth in the trap. Mount Sylvia Diatomite is the only manufacturer of insecticide grade diatomite in Australia and is available at a reasonable price compared with imported alternatives.

For a link to NSW, DPI article by John Rhodes, CLICK HERE

For a link to the Mount Sylvia Diatomite advertisement in The Australian Beekeeper, CLICK HERE

To see a user testimonial CLICK HERE

  Date: 07/05/2009


We were proud to be sponsors of a workshop conducted under the auspices of the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association which allowed professional pest controllers, government regulators and industry representatives to update their knowledge on bed bugs. The workshop was coordinated by Stephen Doggett at the Dept of Medical Entomology ICPMR, Westmead Hospital in Sydney. This meeting allowed us to present data from Stephen Doggett's trials with Absorbacide which showed how effective Absorbacide is in the control of bed bugs.

For a link to the bed bug home page at the Westmead Hospital Dept of Medical Entomology, CLICK HERE

Date: 01/05/2009


In a peer reviewed, competitive process Mount Sylvia Diatomite and the Wark Institute of the University of South Australia have been awarded a Linkage Grant by the Australian Research Council, the major body by which the Australian Government supports research in Australia. These grants are specifically designed to encourage collaboration between industry and academic research. Details below.

LP0989229                     Dr D Losic; A/Prof J Addai-Mensah; A/Prof IR Neering

Approved Project Title  Advanced Nanoscale Materials Engineered from Diatomaceous Earth       

2009-2011                       $60,000 each year over the three year period


Project Summary

Using natural materials of diatomaceous earth (DE) as a cheap and available resource by applying synthetic routes this project is directed towards the innovative development of new nanoscale materials with advanced properties. New mesoporous materials with intricate 3-D structures and nano sized features will be engineered from diatom silica for use in demanding applications such as separation and catalysis. These research outcomes will enhance Australia's capacity in frontier technology and advanced materials, as well as bringing a competitive advantage to local industry through the development of such advanced materials.

A link to the Wark Institute web site can be found HERE                       


Date: 21/01/2009


Charlie McCowen runs sheep at Bolivia in Northern NSW. He has been experimenting with diatomite in various forms since 2006. In the winter of 2008 Charlie started to feed his flock of test sheep a mixture of Molodri and salt. Results have been quite dramatic with a significant reduction in the requirement for drenching. You can take a look at Charlie's sheep and his website which describes his trial HERE.

We've done some egg counts and cultures on Charlie's test sheep. You can find the data HERE. You can see that the average egg count is around 220. Given that a count rate for Barber's Pole worm of 300-500 is considered moderate this data is very encouraging.

We recognise that any data without appropriate controls is equivocal. Accordingly Mount Sylvia Diatomite will be involved in ongoing trials.

Date: 01 /07/2007
This advertorial appeared in the summer edition of The Australian Organic Journal No.68 of 2006.

Diatomite:A Product for our Times

In these days of climate change-induced water shortage, declining soil quality and increased pollution caused by toxic pesticides, diatomite offers a unique, environmentally sustainable approach to combating these problems.

The Mt Sylvia Diatomite Mine, located 95 kilometres westsouthwest of Brisbane, is one of the highest quality diatomaceous earth deposits in Australia.

Mount Sylvia Diatomite Pty Ltd purchased the mine and associated processing plant in November 2005. As the new owners, the objective has been to improve both the efficiency of the plant as well as the quality of the products produced.

This has been achieved by improving the quality controls at the mine face and by replacing a forty year old kiln. The company is committed to examining new uses for its products particularly in the area of agriculture.

Diatomite is a sedimentary earth made up of siliceous fossils of plant algae (diatoms) originally laid down in a fresh water or marine environment. It is light in weight, chalk-like in appearance and very porous.

Diatomite is primarily amorphous silica and is distinct from crystalline silica or quartz. Amorphous silica is much more soluble than crystalline silica and is not a health hazard.

Mt Sylvia Diatomite produces a variety of products. Purasil, our raw uncalcined diatomite is used as a soil conditioner to provide plant available silica and improve cation exchange capacity.

It is used on golf courses, sports fields and in landscape projects to improve porosity and drainage of soils and to promote the health of the plant’s root system. Many benefits are derived from using silica.

Like calcium, silica strengthens cell walls resulting in more robust and efficient plants. Silica improves brix levels and therefore flavour. Plants produce more flowers and pollen is more viable resulting in a better fruit set.

All other products from our plant have passed through our rotary kiln. The heating process does not exceed the temperature necessary to convert amorphous silica to crystalline silica. Mt Sylvia Diatomite produces a number of coarse screened products such as Kleensorb and Nursery grade. They are primarily used as absorbents such as pet litters, industrial spillage absorbents, and in domestic uses such as barbecue trays. These products can absorb over 200% of their own weight in water. When added to potting mixes they have the ability to hold water, create aeration and provide plant available silica.

Molodri is a blend of liquid molasses and diatomite (approximately 50% molasses by weight) carefully formulated in a special process that converts the molasses to a dry powder. It is used as a feed attractant and appetite stimulant for cattle, horses, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry.

While the benefit of the molasses in this blend is well understood, the diatomite may be far more than just a carrier. Chicken sheep and cattle producers are currently evaluating Molodri as an internal parasite control.

The individual diatoms in diatomite are made up of silica skeletons that are razor sharp to insects. The diatoms cut their exoskeletons, absorbing oils and waxes from the insect cuticle thus facilitating moisture loss and death by dehydration.

Absorbacide, our finest grained product is registered with the APVMA as a pest control in stored grain. It works as a surface treatment and as a grain protectant. It is currently undergoing field trials with the Queensland DPI as a control of the Darkling beetle in chicken houses, having achieved successful laboratory trials.

As well as this, the senior medical entomologist at Westmead hospital in Sydney has completed very successful laboratory trials on Bed Bugs. Field trials are currently underway.

Mr Michael Sommerlad, a consultant to the organic poultry industry has recently completed a trial using absorbacide against Red Mite in chickens. The experiment was 100% successful.

Fine diatomite has been used in Lick blocks to provide dietary silica to animals. It is also used as a seed coating to enhance seed survival.

It has been blended with fungal and bacterial pathogens to increase insect mortality. Diatomite offers great promise as an all-purpose, natural, non-chemical insecticide for general house-hold use.


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Some of our clients:

Grain Corp
Country Heritage Feeds