The company, Pacific Mineral Developments Pty Ltd, is owned by Sam Catalano and his wife Dorothy.
He started noticing that crops in the paddocks around the quarry appeared to have less trouble with disease where there were stones lying about. He also noticed that the cattle preferred grazing near the quarry and drinking the water that was used to wash down the plant. When the Catalanos investigated, with the help of CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), they discovered the increased mineral content in the soil and the water to be the reason.
This was followed by nearly 5 years of research, with CSIRO, looking at the results of mineral rock dust on the soil and on plants, and a product was formulated. Further experiments were done by specialist researchers and the Queensland University and James Cook University, which tested a variety of situations. This identified the need to produce a more consistant product.
The different stones contained mineral elements, and in differing quantities, which led to too much variation under test conditions. It was decided, therefore, to set up a plant to try and find a method of reducing this variation, and a pilot plant was established.
Since no similar plant existed anywhere, the Catalanos had to start everything from scratch. They designed their own equipment to handle the processes needed to produce a viable end product, and it took about twelve months to achieve this.
Sam Catalano started manufacturing the commercial product, Minplus, in July 1992, and started to sell locally and nationally. Today, he is in a position to export this proven and highly successful volcanic rock dust around the world.
Min Plus: Part of the Pin Gin Park Group of Companies