ICL to begin mining vast reserves of polyhalite, a natural organic fertilizer, located at lower levels of its potash mines in the north sea.
British Government To Provide £15M Support Package To CPL (a Business Unit of ICL Fertilizers) as Incentive to Mine and Process the Polyhalite.
ICL announced that geological studies conducted by Cleveland Potash Limited (“CPL”), ICL Fertilizers’ British potash mining business unit, indicate that more than a billion tons of polyhalite ore are located in its Boulby mines beneath the potash that it currently mines. CPL, the only potash manufacturer in England, carries out mining activities in the North Sea under a concession of the British government.
CPL noted that the process of mining the polyhalite will be simplified due to the fact that infrastructure and equipment are already located at the site, and because the polyhalite reserves are located directly below the potash layer. As a result, the Company expects to be able to mine hundreds of thousands of tons of the mineral during the first year at a relatively low cost.
Polyhalite is a unique mineral salt which can be used as a fertilizer. It is comprised of calcium, magnesium and potassium sulphates (CaSO4, MgSO4 and K2SO4), each of which is important for good crop development, and is low in chlorine, making it suitable for use with chlorine-sensitive crops. In its natural state, polyhalite can be used as an organic fertilizer or as a raw material for the production of specialty fertilizers. In addition, tests carried out recently by ICL have confirmed the potential for processing polyhalite into a new, advanced product with significant economic potential.
To take full advantage of the polyhalite opportunity, ICL intends to establish a plant next to the Boulby Mine for processing polyhalite into specialty fertilizers and industrial products. The British government has announced that it views this as a strategic initiative with the potential to significantly enhance the local economy, and that it intends to support the project with a grant of £15 million.
“These significant polyhalite reserves are a strategic asset that we intend to transform into the fertilizers so needed by an increasingly hungry planet,” commented Mr. Graham Clarke, CPL’s Managing Director. “The 30-year expertise that we have developed at Boulby, together with the proximity of the polyhalite deposits to our existing mines, will simplify the extraction process while reducing its cost. We have already invested over £12 million in feasibility and commercialization studies, and have even built an access tunnel to the undersea polyhalite seam.”
Mr. Clarke continued, “The government’s promise of substantial support underscore the importance of the project in terms of job creation and the overall economic contribution that it will make to England’s northeast corridor. We thank the British government for this significant grant, a sum which will help us expand the mine’s manufacturing capacity and establish a sophisticated processing plant nearby.”
Mr. Dani Chen, CEO of ICL Fertilizers, added, “The significant polyhalite reserves that we have discovered confirm the strategic importance of our expansion throughout Europe. By continually expanding our mining activities in the UK and our fertilizer activities throughout the world, we are reducing our dependence on any single mine or production facility.
“We thank the British government for its generous support and look forward with pride to partnering with it to bring this vital project to life. This grant will also lead us to consider increasing our investment in international projects that are candidates for governmental incentives.”