New Industrial Uses for Polyhalite

Request Number N071518
Author Kevin Andrews
Need details

ICL Innovations seeks innovative new, large-scale applications for polyhalite.



Polyhalite is a unique mineral salt which can be used as a fertilizer and has potential for other industrial applications. It is comprised of calcium, magnesium and potassium sulphates (CaSO4, MgSO4 and K2SO4). 

Polyhalite was formed during the evaporation of prehistoric seas in the Permian period. Around 260 million years ago, Boulby Mine (the world’s only polyhalite mine) sat on the edge of the Zechstein Sea. The hot and dry conditions of the environment meant the sea evaporated quicker than it could be re-filled, leaving behind polyhalite, halite and potash minerals.

This phenomenon happened around about the same time as the Earth’s greatest extinction event known, with up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial land species becoming extinct. Two hundred sixty million years later, in the 21st century, ICL mines these minerals that were deposited back then. Travelling to the polyhalite layer of rock over 1,000 metres below the North Sea is like travelling backwards through geological history.

To take full advantage of the polyhalite opportunity, ICL intends to establish a plant next to the Boulby Mine in the UK for processing polyhalite into specialty fertilizers and industrial products.

Mined polyhalite will be available as a granular (2-4 mm particle size range) or powder product.  More information on polyhalite, in the context of use as a fertilizer, can be found at Information on ICL Fertilizers can be found in the ICL Fertilizers web page.


Key Success Criteria

All proposals will be evaluated base upon:

  • Extent of potential demand for proposed industrial product
  • Feasibility of production process
  • Scale up prospects
  • Economical viability of product
  • Intellectual property protection

As a technology incubator, ICL Innovation is looking only for innovative technologies that may be further developed and commercialized through a business unit in ICL. 


Possible Approaches
  • Approaches that start with the mineral form of polyhalite
  • Approaches that first separate one of the sulphates from the others


Approaches not of interest

Fertilizer applications are less interesting because ICL already knows about them.



Preferred Collaboration types
  • Joint Development
  • Contract Research
  • Technology Licensing
  • To Be Negotiated
Items to be submitted

ICL Innovation welcomes responses from academic or research institutions or other organizations who are interested in developing innovative technologies and sharing intellectual property in licensing. Approaches with demonstrated feasibility are preferred, but early stage approaches with sound scientific concepts are also welcome. Technologies aligned with business interest will enjoy full funding until implemented on an industrial scale.


We are looking for concise non-confidential proposals, statements of expertise, and other inquiries if your expertise fits our needs. Please use the Respond button to submit your proposal. 


Point of Contact
Kevin Andrews
Area of Interest
  • Chemical Manufacturing
  • Industrial Chemistry
  • Specialty Chemicals
ICL Innovation
Due Date
December 31, 2016
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