The Pigments Plant at Laverton was established by Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand in 1960 in order to meet the growing Australian demand for Azo (usually red or yellow, 'Monolite' brand) and phthalocyanine (green or blue, 'Monastral' brand) organic pigments. These products were designed for use mainly in the printing ink, paint, and plastics industries.
Employing around 80 people, the plant spread over 5 acres of a 330 acre site, all of which was owned by ICIANZ.
Early plant products and processes were modelled on those of the Dyestuffs Division of Imperial Chemical Industries Limited based in the United Kingdom. Azo and Phthalo pigments were produced in separate plants at the Laverton site as they required different production processes.
As the Laverton plant became more established, staff at the site were also responsible for innovative manufacturing techniques. A new finishing process was developed in the laboratory and taken to full plant scale. After proving successful the process was later applied overseas.
From 1968, ICIANZ also produced pigments under licence for the company BASF Australia Limited. In 1970, the two companies became equal partners in a new venture named Pigment Manufacturers of Australia Limited (PMA Ltd) with two representatives from each parent company on the PMA Ltd Board. The newly formed company took over operation of the Pigments Plant at Laverton on 1 January 1970, its stated purpose to "support the role of ICI and BASF in Australia".
An organisational chart showing the structure of the Pigments Plant at Laverton in the late 1960s can be found in "Factory Induction Programme" (PMA0924) in Series 27.
For information on the plant during the 1970s and 1980s under PMA Ltd, see the provenance entry "Pigment Manufacturers of Australia Limited (PMA Ltd)".