The roots of Borax, Rio Tinto Minerals' borates business, stretch back to the discovery of the company's first borate deposit in 1872. In 1881, borates were discovered in California's Death Valley and were later delivered in giant wagons hauled by 20 mule teams. Though this method of transportation lasted only six years, the image became an icon of the Old West and lives on today in the well-known 20 Mule Team® Borax product brand. The Mojave Desert boron deposit - located appropriately in Boron, California - began as an underground mine in 1927 and was transformed into an open-pit mine 30 years later. The site is expected to continue providing valuable minerals for several decades to come. In 1980, Rio Tinto Minerals built a major boric acid plant on the site which has since been expanded, securing the company's position as the world's leading supplier of boric acid as well.