Progressive Planet has begun producing value-added zeolite products for a number of industrial use-cases, including zeolite that can be used in the denaturing of cannabis. According to Harpur, the company has over 7,000 tonnes of mined zeolite stored in piles at its Z1 Quarry that can be crushed down into smaller particle sizes depending on their intended application.
The rapid development of the international cannabis industry has created an opportunity for soil-enhancement providers like Progressive Planet that have developed natural solutions to improve plant growth. Recently organic cultivators have turned to compost, rock dust, bone meal, chicken manure, wood ash, kelp meal and other organic options to enhance their output, providing an opportunity for Progressive Planet to supply this market. In addition to its uses as a soil amender, zeolite is also being used as an additive in the creation of concrete.
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Below is a transcript of our interview with Progressive Planet Chief Executive Officer Stephen Harpur. It has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Investing News Network: How does Progressive Planet intend to process zeolite from the Z1 Quarry?
CEO Stephen Harpur: The zeolite is crushed into various sizes depending on the end-user. Primary crushing occurs at the Z1 Quarry and we have over 7,000 tonnes at the site which is sized from three quarters of an inch and smaller. Additional equipment is used to create smaller particle sizes away from the Quarry. We have a significant inventory of material bagged at the Z-1 Quarry to supply the appropriate size for use in denaturing cannabis, which is a growth market for our company.
INN: What is glacial moraine rock dust, and how can it be used as a soil amendment?
SH: Glacial moraine rock dust consists of small particles of rocks that have been distributed by glaciers. The dust can either be created as a by-product of crushing large amounts of rock that is used in construction or by purposely creating the dust using a ball mill or similar piece of equipment.
The small particle size enables the release of micronutrients that assist plants in their growth. Due to commercial tillage and other factors, soils typically contain fewer micronutrients today than 50 years ago. In fact, soil deterioration has been identified as a serious threat to global food security. Soils today typically contain much lower amounts of carbon and micronutrients today than 50 years ago. Applying rock dust to soils assists in reclaiming the health of our soils and these micronutrients are transferred to the fruits and vegetables that we consume.
INN: How important are soil amendment solutions to the cannabis industry?
SH: A simple google search of “soil amenders for cannabis” will give you a great idea of the many items that can be added to the soil. There is a very strong trend towards organic growing for both cannabis and general plant growth. The terms “super soil” and “living soil” are very popular with organic growers. If you take a trip to your local Canadian Tire or Walmart, you will see the large soil companies are now selling organic versions of their well-known bagged soil brands.
Some of the most popular soil amenders to help create living soil include compost, rock dust, bat guano (bat feces), bone meal, chicken manure, wood ash, kelp meal (seaweed), and worm castings (worm feces).
INN: How do cannabis companies use Progressive Planet’s zeolite from the Z-1 Quarry?
SH: To date, the main use for zeolite from the Z-1 Zeolite Quarry is for denaturing cannabis and hemp waste after the various cannabinoids are extracted from the bud. There are provincial regulations regarding the need to denature this waste.
In the future, we plan to focus on developing products that use this denatured cannabis and hemp to create value-added products. In a perfect world, all residual organic material remaining after cannabinoid extraction will be recycled into products instead of going to landfills. All material that ends up in landfills eventually creates methane, which is a terrible contributor of greenhouse gasses.
Another target market for the near future is to supply powdered zeolite to replace both fly ash and Portland Cement in the production of concrete. Both Portland Cement and Class F fly ash are produced by burning hydrocarbons and both processes have heavy carbon footprints. Zeolite is not roasted to make cement, but rather is simply ground down to a small particle size. In addition, cement made with zeolite absorbs carbon dioxide over time and converts it back into a solid mineral, thus sequestering it.
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