Compass Minerals

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Compass Minerals International, Inc.
Type Public
Traded as NYSECMP
Industry Mining
Founded 2001 in present form, some parts go back to 1844
Headquarters Overland Park, Kansas, USA
Key people Fran Malecha (CEO)
Products salt, sulfate of potash
Revenue > $US 942 million annually (2012)
Employees 1,778 (at the end of 2012)
Website www.compassminerals.com

Compass Minerals is a leading producer of minerals, including salt, magnesium chloride, sulfate of potash and other plant nutrition products. Based in the Kansas City metropolitan area, the company provides bulk treated and untreated highway deicing salt to customers in North America and the United Kingdom and plant nutrition products to growers worldwide. Compass Minerals also produces consumer deicing and water conditioning products, consumer and commercial culinary salt, and other mineral-based products for consumer, agricultural, and industrial applications. In addition, Compass Minerals provides records management services to businesses throughout the United Kingdom.

Ranks[edit]

Compass Minerals is the #1:

  • Salt producer in North America and the United Kingdom
  • Sulfate of potash specialty fertilizer producer in the Western Hemisphere
  • Magnesium chloride deicing/de-dusting producer in North America

(Source: Compass Minerals presentation to BMO 2011 Global Metals & Mining Conference, February 28, 2011 – slide 3)

In 2012, Compass Minerals had total sales of $942 million and ended the year with market capitalization of just $2.5 billion. The company is part of the S&P MidCap 400 Index, the Russell 1000 Index and was included in Fortune magazine’s 2010 listing of the “100 Fastest-Growing Companies.” (Sources: Compass Minerals 2012 10-K; 12/7/10 company press release; 8/19/10 company press release) Though the company’s history stretches back as far as 1844, Compass Minerals became a public company following its initial public offering in December 2003. (Source: Company website)

Production methods and facilities[edit]

Underground Salt Mining[edit]

Underground salt mining produces rock salt using both drill-and-blast and continuous mining techniques in deep deposits. Compass Minerals is the largest rock salt producer in North America and the U.K. It operates underground salt mines at Goderich, Ontario, the largest salt mine in the world with an annual capacity of 9 million tons; Cote Blanche, Louisiana, with annual capacity of 3.4 million tons; and Winsford, Cheshire, United Kingdom, with annual capacity of 1.5 million tons.

Mechanical Evaporation[edit]

Mechanical Evaporation uses high-efficiency vacuum processes to produce high-purity, fine- and coarse-grained salt products for commercial, agricultural, and industrial applications. Compass Minerals is a leading producer of mechanically evaporated salt in North America. It operates mechanical evaporation salt facilities in Lyons, Kansas (annual capacity 450,000 tons), Unity, Saskatchewan (160,000 tons); Goderich, Ontario (130,000 tons); and Amherst, Nova Scotia (130,000 tons). Compass Minerals also operates an SOP evaporation facility at Wynyard, Saskatchewan, with annual capacity of 40,000 tons. (Source: Compass Minerals 2012 Annual Report)

Solar Evaporation[edit]

Solar Evaporation is the oldest and most energy-efficient method of mineral production. At the Great Salt Lake near Ogden, Utah, Compass Minerals draws naturally occurring brine out of the lake into shallow ponds and allows solar evaporation to produce salt, sulfate of potash (SOP) and magnesium chloride. Its SOP plant at the Great Salt Lake is the largest in North America and one of only three SOP brine solar evaporation operations in the world. Annual capacity is 350,000 tons of SOP, 1.5 million tons of salt, and 750,000 tons of magnesium chloride. (Source: Compass Minerals 2012 Annual Report)

Business segments[edit]

Compass Minerals operates two business segments, Salt and Plant Nutrition.

Compass Minerals’ Salt Segment mines, produces, processes and distributes sodium chloride and magnesium chloride in North America and the U.K. The segment’s largest business is highway deicing, which primarily sells bulk rock salt to states, provinces, counties, municipalities and road maintenance contractors for ice control on public roadways. The highway deicing product line also includes flake and liquid magnesium chloride used for deicing and dust control; treated rock salt treated for deicing in very low temperatures; and rock salt for the chlor-alkali industry.

The salt segment also includes consumer and industrial product lines, which includes pure sodium chloride and blended products containing magnesium chloride, calcium chloride and potassium chloride for applications such as consumer and professional deicing, water conditioning, culinary salt, animal nutrition, swimming pool minerals, and thousands of industrial applications.

Compass Minerals’ Plant Nutrition Segment produces sulfate of potash fertilizer that provides essential potassium and sulfate crop nutrients and increases the quality and yield of high-value specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts. SOP also improves the durability of turf grass used in public areas and golf courses.

Compass Minerals also manufactures leading edge, research-proven micronutrient and secondary plant nutrition products under the Wolf Trax® brand. Wolf Trax products include DDP Nutrients and PROTINUS Seed Nutrition.

Wolf Trax DDP Nutrients have been recognized by fertilizer retailers and growers around the world as doing a better job of delivering important micronutrients and secondary nutrients to crops than traditional granular fertilizers.

DDP Nutrients feature patented technologies such as PlantActiv™ formulation, scientifically designed for improved plant availability, and EvenCoat™ technology, allowing the nutrient to coat dry fertilizer prills. Coating dry fertilizer blends leads to blanket-like distribution of the DDP Nutrients in the field and more feeding sites closer to plant roots. Many DDP Nutrients can also coat seed, mix with liquid fertilizer or disperse in foliar applications.

The Wolf Trax DDP formulation is available for zinc, boron, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper and calcium.

PROTINUS Seed Nutrition includes both zinc and manganese for faster, more even emergence and longer, stronger root growth.

Compass Minerals’ domestic sales of SOP are concentrated in the Western and Southeastern U.S. and exports to Latin America, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

See also[edit]

  • Sifto Canada - Canadian subsidiary of Compass Minerals
  • Winsford – home of Britain's largest rock salt mine, owned by Compass Minerals