Organic Fertilizers From Rock Phosphate
Chris Castle, CEO & Chairman of Chatham Rock Phosphate speaks on their rock phosphate that is used to make organic fertilizers.
“Chatham Rock Phosphate’s primary focus is the project offshore New Zealand of rock phosphate. Rock phosphate is used to make fertilizers and our particular sort of rock phosphate is used to make organic fertilizers. We have a mining permit we actually got that in 2013 we plan to minor the rate of one and a half million tonnes a year and supply effectively eight different countries with our rock phosphate. There’s an increasing concern about high levels of cadmium in phosphate because it causes cancer in humans. The levels of cadmium in our rock are almost the lowest in the world. They’re running at about two parts per million, rock coming in from Morocco and other places is over two or three hundred parts per million so that’s very significant for us. We’re going to be very active in Namibia, it is a second string to our boat. Namibia is a really exciting place it has had marine diamond mining for quite a long time, it has a lot of rock phosphate there in the same places. In Namibia we have an existing project we applied for five permits back in 2012 and those applications which are in the system and which are effectively place markers for five interesting areas. More recently we’ve met with local people who had other permits that were of interest so we’ve added those in. So we’re going to have in total 12 permits in key areas and the importance about that is the environmental permitting regime is about to change and these will become valuable assets.” – Chris Castle, CEO & Chairman of Chatham Rock Phosphate
Chatham Rock Phosphate is the custodian of New Zealand’s only material resource of environmentally friendly pastoral phosphate fertilizer. Our key role is connecting the resource with those who need it.
Using this phosphate will support sustainable farming practices, including healthier soils and reduced accumulation of the heavy metal cadmium, dramatically lowering runoff to waterways and shrinking fertilizer needs over time.
The phosphate deposit was formed in nodules on the Chatham Rise millions of years ago, and discovered in 1952 by New Zealand scientists. Over the following four decades public and private sector experts identified the potential for decades of supply of rock phosphate to nourish New Zealand farms.
The resource has an estimated worth of $5 to $7 billion, representing one of New Zealand’s most valuable mineral assets and is of huge strategic significance because phosphate is essential to maintain New Zealand’s high agricultural productivity.
New Zealand’s current access to phosphate is vulnerable to economic and political events in the six countries controlling 98% of the world’s phosphate reserves, with 85% of the total in the Western Saharan state of Morocco.
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