When crude oil escaping from the depths of the earth over time and evaporates while exposing to atmosphere, the black mineral known as natural bitumen or Gilsonite remained. In fact, natural bitumen is a heavy hydrocarbon material that has been classified according to its formation, physical properties, solubility in carbon tetrachloride and chemical composition into various groups such as asphaltic pyrobitumen, non-asphaltic pyrobitumen, asphaltites, etc., and these groups also, divided into different subgroups. Asphaltites can be used in this regards that dividing into three groups of Gilsonite, Grahamite and Glance pitch. Gilsonite is one of the highest quality and desirable bitumen which observed in terms of liquid, semi-solid and solid according to its purity and life span (Leland, 1957; Joseph, 1961).

Worldwide Reserves of Gilsonite

Gilsonite mines are respectively the largest reserves in the United States, Canada, Iran, Iraq, Russia, Venezuela, China, Australia, Mexico, Albania and Philippines (USGS, 2007; USGS, 2016a). The largest Gilsonite reserves in the world are located in Utah and Colorado states that have been estimated to contain the reserve of 45 million tons, according to the US Geological Survey (Pruitt, 1961; USGS, 2016a,b). Overall, about 65 percent of Gilsonite reserves are located in North American continent consist of the United States and Canada, and Iran accounts for about 15 percent of these reserves as the third largest natural bitumen reserve globally (USGS, 2007; USGS, 2016a).


In Iran

Areas with the potential of natural bitumen in Iran are mainly located in provinces of Kermanshah (Gilan-e-Gharb, Ghasr-e Shirin, Sumar villages), Ilam (Ivan and Dehloran), Khorramabad and Khuzestan (Figure 2) (Dehghani and Makris, 1984; Bordenave and Hegre, 2005; USGS, 2007; USGS, 2016a). The Gilan-e-Gharb block is structurally located in Zagros fold-thrust belt, the eastern part of which contains the Lurestan sedimentary basin and the western part in the sedimentary basin of northern Dezful (AhmadiKhalaji, et. al., 2014). This block with an area of 1277 square kilometers in the province of Kermanshah is located between Qasr-e Shirin and Gilan-e-Gharb towns, and to the city of Sumar southward near to the border of Ilam province (Shekarian, et. al., 2017a.b; Shekarian, et. al., 2018). This exploration zone contains surface and deep anomalies in terms of hydrocarbon potential, which superficial potential mainly consist of natural bitumen, Gilsonite in particular that have made this zone as the most susceptible area for gilsonite mineralization especially in Middle East (Fariborz and Paul, 1985; AhmadiKhalaji, et. al., 2014; Rahimi, et. al, 2018).


Advantage of usage gilsonite in various industries

– Improved resistance to deformation
– Improved the economic performance of the road
– Compensation for poor aggregates
– High Asphaltene content
– High purity and consistent properties
– High in resin and Nitrogen content
– Controls fluid loss and seepage
– Stabilizes shales in hole drilling
– Prevents lost circulation in drilling
– Strengthens the wellbore to increase wellbore stability in drilling

Gilsonite Applications

Gilsonite, Natural Asphalt, Natural Bitumen, or Hard Asphalt has many industrial applications, including metal alloy processing, refractory, steel ‎desulfurization, friction products, wood products, waterproof pipe coatings, and adhesives. It is a non- ‎toxic, non-carcinogenic alternative to coal tar pitch as well as an economical alternative to mineral rubber. ‎Gilsonite is used as a binder and mixing agent in steel desulfurization products. It has consistent ‎volatiles that promote mixing of the other desulfurization chemicals like magnesium and hydrated lime. It ‎will also add carbon content to the steel and will provide a reductive atmosphere as it oxidizes at high ‎temperatures. Gilsonite is used to make waterproof coatings for water pipes. The wood products industry also uses Gilsonite as a binder. It has excellent waterproofing and ‎weather resistant properties. Because Gilsonite is a hard resin it will make a very hard particleboard.
1- Gilsonite is used as a performance-‎enhancing agent for asphalt mixes. Gilsonite-modified paving mixes achieve higher PG grades and ‎incorporate perfectly into the asphalt blend with no need for high shear milling as is the case with many ‎other modifiers. Gilsonite can partially or totally replace, or complement, the use of SBS polymers in ‎modified asphalts at a fraction of the cost. Gilsonite-modified asphalts have higher stability, reduced ‎deformation, reduced temperature susceptibility and increased resistance to water stripping than non-‎modified asphalts.‎ Gilsonite is also used to make both solvent-based and emulsion pavement sealers with superior ‎appearance and weathering properties.‎


2- Uses Gilsonite, ‎Natural Bitumen in Oil & Gas: Gilsonite is used in drilling mud fluids and oil well cementing. Also used ‎for Inks and Paints Gilsonite Resin is widely used as the primary carbon black wetting agent for black ‎news inks and headset and gravure inks. Gilsonite Resin competes advantageously with petroleum-‎based hydrocarbon resins, phenolic resins and metal resinates, all of which it can complement or replace ‎to various degrees.‎


3- Gilsonite or Bitumen in Foundry: Gilsonite is combined with coal and other ingredients as an additive ‎in foundry sands to insure the quality of the molded part by improving mold release and the overall finish ‎of metal castings.‎


4- Gilsonite in Chemical: Gilsonite combines with many other chemicals and materials that take ‎advantage of its unique physical and chemical properties. ‎ Binder and coating applications in metallurgical, wood product, refractory and other industries further ‎demonstrate the versatility and usefulness of this remarkable material.‎


5- Gilsonite in Inks and Paints: Gilsonite is an important cost-effective ingredients in the manufacture of high quality vehicles for dark ‎printing inks.‎


6- Roofing felt: It may be wel to preliminary discuss one of the ingredients which I employnamely, what is known as gilsonite or uintahite, a comparatively new hydrocarbon product, the nature of which is explained in an article by Locke, appearing in the Transactions of American Institute of Mining Engineers, Vol. 16, page 162. This article states, among other things, thatgilsonite possesses superior qualities as the principal ingredient in a roofing composition, and appreciating this fact I have in evolvingthe presentinvention aimed to produce a composition which will effectively utilize this substance. Used alon e gilsonitehas not proven satisfactory for roofing or paving purposes, being too brittle, and, moreover, not adapted for use as a base which can be tempered down to the proper consistency. I propose to combine gilsonite with asphaltum and a suitable oil in such a manner that the advantages of the gilsonite as an ingredient of a roofing composition can be had, the asphaltum supplying the deficiencies ap-‘ parent when the gilsonite is used alone, and I am thus’ enabled to procure a mixture that possesses elastic and pliable properties such. as desired in roofing-sheets and one which is at the same time durable and possessed of the required commercial characteristics
Benefits of use of gilsonite in roofing:

• Increase of shear strength of membrane
• Increase flow resistance of membrane
• Low temperature flexibility is preserved if gilsonite is added in low quantity (around 5/7%)
• High temperature (in case of roof application) will not affect the membrane
• Decrease the tendency of the product to flow, e.g. on sloped roofs, and prevents localized displacement of the adhesive, e.g. due to foot traffic or the weight of overlying ballast.
• Helps to minimize thermally induced movement of these membranes when adhered to the rooftop substrate
• The combination of low temperature flexibility and high temperature shear strength and flow resistance is particularly desirable in adhesives intended for use in roofing.


7- Coating:

There are few prior art coating compositions which combine the highly desired characteristics of economy, low raw material cost and compatibility with most of the raw materials used in the paint, varnish and enamel in dustry, and at the same time are also highly resistant to acid and alkali materials, non-corrosive toward the surface upon which they are applied, weather-resistant and of high electrical insulating value. There is, however, one composition which possesses all of these properties. This composition is one containing gilsonite as a principal constituent. For example, a Gilsonite and drying oil composition possesses all of these desirable qualities to a considerable extent.

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