Sustainable Agriculture

U.S. Borax's Role in Sustainable Agriculture

Our world’s population is growing rapidly—yet the amount of arable land is not. A changing climate. Soil contamination and depletion. Crop demands. All threaten our ability to maintain a sufficient global food supply.

U.S. Borax wants to help farmers meet society’s food needs today without hindering future generations’ ability to feed themselves. Through our sustainable agriculture policies, we promote farming practices and methods that are:

  • Environmentally conscience
  • Good for local communities
  • Profitable

It starts in the mine

Boron, California mine

Our commitment to sustainability starts before our product is even put into a bag. Environmental preservation and safety practices are the foundation of our operating principles. At our industrial-scale operations in Boron, California, we continually look for ways to reduce water, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions while protecting the health and well-being of our employees. California’s extreme drought conditions have accelerated our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint while delivering an important micronutrient.

U.S. Borax has successfully completed the full transition of our heavy machinery from fossil diesel to renewable diesel at at Boron operations. We are the first open pit mine in the world to achieve this milestone.

Continues through the supply chain

Our customers want to know that U.S. Borax products have been produced in a responsible way. To this end, we have a well-established, global team of dedicated in-house experts in product stewardship. We ensure that our practices meet or exceed product stewardship and safety standards everywhere we do business.

To our products

Supporting maximum yield potential

U.S. Borax fertilizers help farmers maximize the potential for high crop yield when boron is the limiting factor. For decades, farmers and researchers have been focused on macronutrients such as NPK to improve crop yield and quality. However, the importance of micronutrients such as zinc and boron have increased in the past several years because farmers will not be able to achieve new levels of productivity and quality without having essential micronutrients in their fertilization program. Boron has been classified as an essential nutrient for plants since 1923 (Warington, 1923).

Certified organic

Our refined borates are purer and cleaner than raw minerals, reducing contaminants in the soil such as the heavy metal arsenic. All 20 Mule Team® refined borates products are certified and approved for use in organic farming.

Agriculture industry support

U.S. Borax is a member of The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) which promotes the 4Rs—the concept that the right fertilizer source, applied at the right rate, in the right time, and in the right place is the best way to increase crop production and profitability while protecting the environment and improving sustainability. In addition, we represent the voice of the micronutrient industry on TFI’s micronutrient committee and the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Committee which provides a framework to support these initiatives.

Rio Tinto is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a not-for-profit group created to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil. The RSPO has developed a set of environmental and social criteria which companies must comply with in order to produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). The use of these criteria can help to minimize the negative impact of palm oil cultivation on the environment and communities in palm oil-producing regions.

Farmer in the greenhouse

Climate change

Flower in Death Valley

Our parent company, Rio Tinto, recognizes the importance of tackling climate change. Mining and refining boron is energy intensive, and we are taking action to improve productivity and reduce emissions. The challenge is to meet the world’s growing needs for boron, while addressing the issue of climate change.

Rio Tinto accepts the assessment of climate change science and believes that sustainable development requires both continued economic growth and an effective response to climate change. As a result, continuing to drive economic growth while also responding to climate change is a strategic issue for us. We aim to be part of the solution by:

  • Reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • Providing sustainable products

On the complex issue of climate change, we believe that significant progress towards a solution will only occur where there is broad engagement involving the breadth of experience and opinion from business, governments, investors, civil society organizations, and consumers. Learn more >

Warington, K. 1923. "The effect of boric acid and borax on the broad bean and certain other plants." Ann Bot. 37:629-672.

U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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