ICL Boulby product found to be good for the planet

The ICL Boulby mine's polyhalite is sold across five continents.
The ICL Boulby mine's polyhalite is sold across five continents.

A new study has revealed that polyhalite mined at ICL Boulby is far more environmentally friendly than other fertilisers—with a ‘carbon footprint’ just a fraction of many other products.

The study was welcomed by ICL Boulby vice president Andrew Fulton as ‘another demonstration of the benefits which our unique product can bring to farming worldwide’.

The Boulby mine is the world’s first and only producer of the unique mineral polyhalite (marketed as Polysulphate) which contains four vital plant nutrients – sulphur, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Already it is being sold across five continents and production is planned to step up to a million tonnes a year by 2020.

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

Mr Fulton said: “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.”