The processing facility of manufacturer and minerals producer Pratley has been significantly busy producing Pratley Vulture Creek Clino during the national lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19, as the product is mainly supplied to the agriculture sector and, therefore, classified as essential, says Pratley marketing director Eldon Kruger.
“Every farmer should be using Vulture Creek Clino, especially in the current economic environment, where farms are focused on increasing their crop yields and saving costs.”
The product acts as a soil conditioner that retains water and nutrients of soil, and demand for Vulture Creek Clino in the agriculture sector is continuously increasing, he notes.
“More farmers are experiencing improved crop yields when using the product, owing to its cation-exchange and slow-release fertiliser properties, which contribute to greater efficiencies and cost savings... Additionally, the product is increasingly being used on golf courses as a slow-release fertiliser, with exceptional results,” explains Kruger.
Vulture Creek Clino, named after the creek where it is mined in northern KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), is a specific grade of clinoptilolite that is designed for certain applications, including water filtration, soil remediation, and as a slow-release fertiliser.
Unlike potentially harmful chemical fertilisers that can contaminate rivers and dams, the product is completely natural, staying in the soil for many years, and is fed to farm animals as a stock remedy.
“The world is moving rapidly towards ‘green’ products that have a positive impact on the environment. Vulture Creek Clino is the ideal pollution clean-up material, with applications that range from water filtration to golf-course maintenance, farming and even nuclear clean-up,” explains Kruger.
The agriculture and water management sectors represent the greatest demand for the product.
“In the water filtration sector, the product has successfully removed harmful pollutants, including ammonia and heavy metals, from water,” notes Kruger.
He adds that the product is beneficial to any plant type, from farmed crops to lawns and flower beds in gardens.
“The product is ideal for crop-farming applications, with clinoptilolite considered in the growing of crops for missions to Mars.”
Pratley has been producing and processing clinoptilolite in northern KZN for over 20 years.
The company’s business model is centred around research and development, with much going into Vulture Creek Clino and its capabilities.
“We operate a fully equipped mineral analytical laboratory, in Johannesburg, where we thoroughly test the clinoptilolite mineral for efficacy and purity. Some of the instruments we use include scanning electron microscopes, an X-ray powder diffractometer, an inductive coupled plasma spectrometer and a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer.”
With the current limitations on large gatherings preventing live exhibitions, Pratley is using online and printed media to promote and market the product. It is also investigating the use of webinars to market Vulture Creek Clino to the agriculture sector.
Pratley is exporting the product to neighbouring countries, with many other grades of the company’s clinoptilolite also being exported to Europe, the US and the Far East.
Locally, Pratley has depots in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, where the product can be bought directly from the company.