Kaolin, one of the materials of major importance for the ceramic and paper industry, is also used in the construction industry as a raw material for the production of white cement clinker and, in the form of metakaolin, as an artificial pozzolanic additive for concrete. Metakaolin is a vital component of high-performance and architectural concrete; however, its application in regular concrete is very limited due to relatively high production costs. This report evaluates the performance of a low-cost metakaolin-based additive called thermally activated kaolin (TAK), in cement. Due to its pozzolanic properties and the densification of cement matrix, the application of TAK provides a 15% improvement of the compressive strength. It was shown that TAK of optimal quality can be manufactured by the thermal treatment of raw kaolin with 74% of kaolinite at 750 degrees C without the intermediate beneficiation stage. The application of a developed approach can significantly reduce production expenditures and make the application of such an additive feasible even in regular-grade cement and concrete. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.