those two that was unaddressed. High quality ba- salt fiber materials really filled that market void.” Basalt fiber is most often used as plastic compos- ite reinforcement for added stiffness or strength, but basalt can also be used for high temperature insulation or concrete reinforcement. “We melt the rock at around 1,500 degrees Celsius and draw it through platinum/rhodium bushings to form our final product which is a continuous ba- salt filament, which can then be wound, chopped, or processed.” Mafic began its operation in Kells, Ireland, roughly 125 miles south of the world’s most fa- mous basalt deposit, the Giants Causeway, an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns on the north coast of Northern Ireland. “That initial production facility in Kells, we view long-term as a research and develop- ment facility, and one that we’ll maintain,” says Thomp- son. “And then here, in the U.S., we are launching our larger production facility in Shelby, North Carolina, which is set to come online later this year. That pro- duction facility represents about 6,000 tons of annual production and is the first continuous basalt fiber production facility here in North America.” According to Thompson, the new Shelby loca- tion, which now has only about ten people, will ramp up over the coming months, and grow to MAFIC a complement of about a hundred employees. “We’re excited about the expansion of our team, here,” he states. “We’re creating a lot of manufac- turing jobs here in Shelby, and we’ve found this area to be rich in talent in the composites field, and a lot of smart, hard-working people in this area who can make us very successful.” Mafic’s new facility will help it satisfy the needs of its current, and future, customers in the var- ious industries that utilize composites in their manufacturing processes. “That can be in the automotive area; in things like high temperature fabrics for insulation; aerospace; and the growing ‘composites in construction’ industry. There are many different uses for our fibers. Recently, there have been a number of developments with basalt fiber in 3-D printing, for example. But generally speaking, you can see basalt fiber products any- where that you might, otherwise, see glass fiber or carbon fiber materials being used. The void in the marketplace that we’re filling are the areas that are unaddressed by the very expensive alter- native, carbon fiber, or one that requires a higher performance material than is currently offered by a fiberglass product.” One of Mafic’s missions is to educate those potential new customers about the benefits of basalt fiber. “We see that there are many people who have either a cursory knowledge, or basic understanding, of composite materials, and spe- cifically what basalt fiber has to offer, and want to do more with it and gain more understand- JEFF THOMPSON HEAD OF SALES AND MARKETING