The growing worldwide demand for fertilisers produced from the world’s only polyhalite mine at ICL Boulby is setting new records.
Sales figures for March reached an all-time high with a 30 per cent increase in the previous top monthly total—an achievement, says ICL Boulby Vice President Andrew Fulton, which reflects the united efforts of the entire workforce.
Products using the multi-nutrient mineral, marketed as Polysulphate, are boosting food production across five continents and the increase in demand means that, as well as stepping up output at the mine, it’s a busy time for the ICL distribution terminal at Tees Dock.
Says terminal manager Mark Wilson “In March we handled 75 train loads coming from the mine and vessels transporting products to and from places as far afield as China, Brazil, Spain, Antwerp, Amsterdam and, nearer home, Southampton and Invergordon.
“In general the first quarter of the year has been extremely busy and demand for Boulby products is continuing…for example in the last few days we have been loading 20,000 tonnes onto the bulk carrier Western Boheme for shipment to Brazil.
“In common with the entire operation, switching from potash to polyhalite has posed significant challenges for our facilities at Tees Dock…for example polyhalite is a heavier product which handles very differently from potash and we are investing significantly in upgrading our facilities and equipment to handle it without negative impacts on safety or the environment.”
Adds Mr Fulton “This year is very important for Boulby as we step up polyhalite production towards the target of a million tonnes a year by the end of 2020. The latest sales figures show the scale of the increasing demand for this ground-breaking mineral, which is only produced at Boulby, and which is benefitting growth and yield for farmers in so many different parts of the world.
“But what we actually do at Boulby is just part of the story…the efforts of our staff at Tees Dock, together with those involved in research and development, marketing and sales, is equally important in delivering our targets.”