BPM's unique New Zealand zeolite is experiencing growing demand in the Australian market, helped by the increased focus on improving environmental outcomes in applications ranging from agriculture to high-end golf courses and sports facilities.
“We are active in the high value and value-added markets,” said BPM Chief Executive Dave Hill. “Our zeolite can be either value-added with supplements at our head office site, or sold directly to the growing number of manufacturers that have realised how suitable it as a carrying mechanism for a number of actives. There are other companies that supply zeolite, but they can’t compete with what we are doing because their zeolite just doesn’t have the same open structure.” Manufacturers in Australia were replacing other minerals and clays with BPM zeolite because of its unique characteristics, he said.
BPM’s two quarries are amongst the youngest anywhere in the world, and were formed some 250,000 years ago during the major volcanic eruption in the central North Island area of Taupo. Zeolite International Sales Manager Nigel Kewish says the BPM products are particularly valued by customers looking at ways to mitigate any nutrient loss, a focus that is being driven by the increased focus worldwide on water quality and improving environmental outcomes. “For example, our clients might be taking a basic liquid seaweed additive to a soil profile where they are looking to increase soil microbial activity, using zeolite as a base carrier. Once the additive has been drained out, the zeolite still plays an important part in holding onto moisture and new nutrients loaded into the soil, it will capture any pre-nutrients, and it also helps the soil porosity.” “There are other companies that supply zeolite into Australia, but they can’t compete with what we are doing because their zeolite just doesn’t have the open structure to be able to carry the actives ours does.”
BPM products were being used by clients ranging from home gardeners to commercial sports grounds, high profile golf courses, and council parks and gardens where they have to be seen as leading the way environmentally, said Kewish. BPM has the capacity to either add a client’s own specific formulation at its Tokoroa processing facility, or provide them with the required formulation, which they can incorporate into their own manufacturing process. “For example we’ve got a customer in Australia who is using the unique property of our zeolite to add a slow release fertiliser, which allows them to do their own value-add to the product they are selling.”
BPM has already established a strong name within the New Zealand agricultural sector, especially in dairy, with a range of its own value-add zeolite-based supplement products. Zeolite has been positioned in New Zealand by BPM as the smart mineral shaping the country’s farming future. “We’ve created innovative products around value- added mineral supplements using zeolite as a base for the NZ dairy sector,” said Kewish. “We’ve also been able to transfer that to the Australian market and it’s been well received. Our competitors in the zeolite industry are essentially selling a raw product and aren’t doing this kind of thing, so we are ahead of the game. We are coming to the market with a unique product that has all the extra minerals added in-house.” Hill says BPM is continuing to build on the established strong presence for its zeolite in the pet litter sector in Australasia, and saw a large opportunity in the Asian pet sector for customised products. “We are able to bring value-added pet litters to the market that will be very specific to what those markets want to see on the shelf,” he said. “The products have to be unique and absolutely fit the requirements determined by the market. We are in the midst of developing new products that are going to meet those requirements.”