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Chamber Tees Valley Annual Review Hears About ICL Boulby Transformation

Over 120 business leaders in the Tees Valley heard at first-hand about the inspirational story which turned around a potash company which had exhausted its reserves, into a world-leading agricultural fertiliser producer.

Speaking at the North East England Chamber of Commerce Tees Valley Annual Review at the Jury’s Inn, Middlesbrough, Andrew Fulton, VP and general manager of ICL Boulby gave the guests a candid overview of the substantial investment and technical expertise needed to change the mining business’s production.

He said: “We are firmly committed to our North East and wanted to ensure the Boulby base had a future so we examined the potential assets on our land and found this rich source of polyhalite deep underground.  This discovery has led us to develop the world’s first polyhalite operation.  Our business is now exploiting the fantastic rich deposits miles under the North Sea and has created and secured 500 jobs in the process.”

Polyhalite is now the vital ingredient in high quality multi-nutrient fertilisers marketed by ICL as Polysulphate. As well as producing significantly higher yields for farmers it has a much lower ‘carbon footprint’ than many other fertilisers. Products using Boulby polyhalite are now sold across five continents.

Andrew Fulton said: “It was a massive transition to move from potash mining to our new operation and needed substantial investment by our parent company ICL. When we knew we had to change our business product we were resolute in our determination to support our local community and reinvent our operation.  This is what being a mining engineer stands for.”

As well as the Polysulphate production the site also has ground-breaking facilities including the United Kingdom’s only underground science laboratory where studies can be carried out almost entirely free of interference from natural background radiation. Among the projects it has supported is the prestigious testing of Nasa’s Mars rover.

ICL and ICL Boulby also continue to produce and supply salt and is responsible for providing half of the total amount needed to grit the whole of the UK.

At the Chamber’s Tees Valley AGM Simon Wake, Endeavour Partnership LLP was elected Chair of the area committee and Patrick Masheder, Real Results Marketing and Jo Hand, the Human Group North were elected vice-chairs.

The event was sponsored by the Esh Group.

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