TEL AVIV, Israel, April 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- ICL (TASE:ICL), a multinational fertilizer and specialty chemicals company, today 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 below the North Sea under a concession from 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 that 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 specialty 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, thereby adding to its value. In its natural state, polyhalite can be used as a specialty fertilizer for organic and other applications, or as a raw material for the production of specialty fertilizers. In addition, ICL's tests have recently confirmed that polyhalite can be processed into new, advanced products with significant economic potential.
To take full advantage of the polyhalite opportunity, ICL intends to establish a plant near the Tees Valley 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 GBP15 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 mining expertise that we have developed at Boulby, together with the proximity of the polyhalite deposits to our existing mine, will simplify the extraction process while reducing its cost. We have already invested over GBP12 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."
ICL is one of the world's leading fertilizer and specialty chemicals companies. For a world challenged by population growth and scarce resources, ICL makes products that increase global food and water supplies and improve industrial materials and processes.
ICL produces approximately a third of the world's bromine and is the 6th largest potash producer in the world. ICL is a leading supplier of fertilizers in Europe and a major player in specialty fertilizer market segments. One of the world's most integrated manufacturers and suppliers of phosphate products, ICL has become the world's leading provider of pure phosphoric acid and a major specialty phosphate player.
ICL is comprised of three core segments: ICL Fertilizers, ICL Industrial Products and ICL Performance Products. Its major production activities are located in Israel, Europe, the US, South America and China, and are supported by major global marketing and logistics networks. ICL benefits from exclusive concessions to extract minerals from Israel's Dead Sea, a vast source of high-quality and low-cost potash, bromine, magnesium chloride and sodium chloride. ICL also mines phosphate rock from Israel's Negev Desert and potash and salt from its mines in Spain and the UK.
ICL's shares are traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE: ICL).
Forward Looking Statement
This press release contains forward-looking assessments and judgments regarding macro-economic conditions and the Group's markets, and there is no certainty as to whether, when and/or at what rate these projections will materialize. Management's projections are likely to change in light of market fluctuations, especially in ICL's manufacturing locations and target markets. In addition, ICL is likely to be affected by changes in the demand and price environment for its products as well as the cost of shipping and energy, whether caused by actions of governments, manufacturers or consumers. ICL can also be affected by changes in the capital markets, including fluctuations in currency exchange rates, credit availability, interest rates, etc.
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SOURCE ICL - Israel Chemicals Ltd