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Study finds polyhalite is more environmentally friendly than other fertilizers

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World Fertilizer,

A study has concluded that polyhalite mined at ICL Boulby in East Cleveland, UK, is more environmentally friendly than other fertilizers.

The mine, managed by Israel Chemicals’ subsidiary ICL Fertilizers, is currently the world’s only producer of polyhalite (marketed as Polysulphate), which contains four plant nutrients – sulfur, potassium, magnesium and calcium. It is sold across five continents and production is planned to step up to a 1 million tpy by 2020.

The study, undertaken by waste and sustainability consultancy Filkin and Co, measured carbon footprint as an estimated value of various fertilizers’ global warming potential. In the case of polyhalite the study concluded it was just a twentieth of the level produced by ammonium nitrate fertilizer.

ICL Boulby Vice President Andrew Fulton said the study provided, “another demonstration of the benefits which our unique product can bring to farming worldwide—not only improving crop growth and yields but also helping to protect the planet.”

Fulton added: “There is increasing interest in knowing the carbon footprints of products in farming and in food supply chains. Retailers and consumers want to compare the ecological impact of foods. They want to look at every input and activity all the way through the production process from field to fork.

“A growing proportion of farmers and growers are interested in the carbon footprint of the inputs they use. Minimising carbon footprint from fossil fuel-generated energy is one of the criteria used by farming and food production accreditation standards to differentiate sustainable farming businesses from others and is essential for organic systems.

“The Polysulphate we produce at Boulby has a low carbon footprint because it is a natural product. It is just mined, crushed and screened without any further energy-intensive chemical processes. There are no additional processes, such as flotation or crystallization, which are used to create other fertilizers, so energy and water use in Polysulphate production is far less. In addition, there are no by-products to deal with which also contributes to its small ecological footprint.

“For farmers and growers, especially those in organic production or accredited to an international standard of sustainability, the news that Polysulphate, when compared with other fertilizers, has the lowest carbon footprint is very welcome. It means that as well as giving precise, balanced and effective nutrition to crops, it is good for the future of planet earth.”

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