History and Current Situation


1972 - The family started its activities in the field of mining. José Cholino discovered a bentonite deposit in the area of General Roca, province of Río Negro. That would be the first one of a series of discoveries.

1977 - José Cholino discovered a sodium bentonite deposit in the province of la Pampa and gave it the name of "Islas Malvinas". He also found another deposit, located south of the Colorado river -in the province of Rio Negro- and called it "Aguará". These deposits were then explored and developed and today constitute an important high quality mineral reserve that supports current production. At the beginning, the company commercialized rocks of raw product, but J. Cholino's strategic aim was to introduce technology in order to process the mineral and give the product added value.

1981 / 1983 - The Company introduced its first machines.

1984 - The mining Company José Cholino e hijos Ltd. was legally constituted as an SRL –according to the Argentine law- and started operating as a mineral grinding company in 25 de Mayo, province of La Pampa.

1986 -The Company's first mineral processing plant was opened in the industrial park of 25 de Mayo. The plant included a Raymond Hammer Mill and new installations.

1990 - The Company started exploiting gypsum mines in Casa de Piedra, province of La Pampa. At the beginning the product consisted of gypsum rocks. Later the Company started crushing the mineral, which was also sorted for its commercialization.

1994 - José Cholino's sons took over the Company, following the values their father had instilled them, and pursuing his aims.

1995 / 1996 - The Company prospected for and started extracting calcium bentonite from a new deposit, El Cerro, located in Valcheta, province of Rio Negro.

1998 - A bentonite processing plant was opened in Colonia Chica, 25 de Mayo. This plant became part of the location "Islas Malvinas". The plant carries out the processes of grinding, sorting, quality-control, bagging, and palletizing. Nowadays the mill is equipped with a power station fueled by gas (as an alternative to the electric power distribution network), a workshop for repairing and building machines, and a state-of-the art laboratory in which the production of the plant is tested for quality and new products are developed.

1999 – The Company started exporting processed bentonite directly to Brazil, and later, also to Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Bolivia, and Venezuela. Currently the Company exports bentonite- indirectly, by means of strategic alliances- to Southeast Asia, Central America and Europe as well. 1999 was also the year in which the Geomining Museum was opened in 25 de Mayo. The building that hosts the museum was built in the premises of the Company for that specific purpose. The museum houses an exhibition of all the fossils and valuable minerals that the family has collected since the beginnings of the Company. Thus José Cholino's sons have paid homage to their father's pioneering spirit. The purpose of the creation of this museum was to contribute to education and to insert the Company in the community. The Geomining Museum has been declared of Public Interest by the province of La Pampa and today is part of the tourist circuit of the province.

2000 / 2002 – The Mill in Colonia Chica, 25 de Mayo, registered a three-fold increase in production capacity due to the introduction of two mills, one of which was a high production pendulum type mill. Due to that new technology the milling capacity reached 6000 tons per month.

2003 –The company achieved ISO 9000:2000 certification for the prospection and extraction of bentonite, and for the development, production, and commercialization of bentonite as a processed product. One of the goals of the Company is to create conditions that will, in the short term, grant the certification of the standards related to safety and to the environment.

2004 / 2005 – The administrative and commercial head office was opened in the city of General Roca. This office enables the Company to provide customers and suppliers a better service. The head office is equipped with communication and information technology that allows it to be in constant contact with all the Company departments. Important deposits of a material with special characteristics for industrial uses were found in Valcheta. Calcium bentonite exploitation increased and new facilities suitable for the operations to be performed in the site were built. New investments were made in the gypsum processing plant in order to increase its production capacity. A second grinding equipment was set up, together with the complements needed to meet the then existing demand. The Company purchased large-sized trucks and also new equipment for the exploitation sector. Kaolin, diatomite, and white clay deposits were also acquired. The project for the construction of a pilot diatomite processing plant started to be developed in the industrial park of 25 de Mayo, La Pampa.

2006 – Business premises with the commercial name "Estilo Sur Revestimientos" were opened for the sale of floors and wall tiles. A research, development and quality control laboratory was established in the city of General Roca. A modern mineral processing plant was opened in the Paraje Anticlinal, near Zapala, province of Neuquén, next to the shaft. This plant is equipped with all the services and infrastructure needed for its efficient operation, and its purpose is to meet the requirements of the rising oil market.

2007 / 2009 – As regards equipment, the Company kept the same policy as the previous years, investing in modernization and updating. A diatomite and calcium bentonite fractionation plant for household absorbents was opened in Teniente Maza, province of Río Negro. A pilot diatomite processing plant for the development of filtration products for industrial applications was set up in the industrial park of 25 de Mayo, La Pampa.

2010 – A new flagstone quarry and its processing plant were opened in La Bianca, Los Menucos.

Future Projects

Expansion of the Mill "Molienda Zapala": The Company acquired a hammer mill and all its accessories, for which a two-fold increase in the production capacity of the current plant is expected. This increased level of production will enable this plant to meet all of the demand for oil bentonite. After the successful development of the pilot plant in 25 de Mayo, the Company is projecting to set up a modern high tech diatomite plant in order to elaborate industrial application products.

Challenges are constant, and the spirit to face them is as brave as it was 25 years ago.

Hadn't it been for those who have walked with us along the journey that is our institutional life, our history would be different. To our customers and suppliers, to the team, to the authorities, to our relatives and friends… and to all those people that have always been by our side: thanks a lot!