History

1910s

1910 - Cuming Smith & Company, the first firm to make superphosphate in Australia, commenced manufacture at Bassendean Works, using the brand name ‘Florida’.

Cuming Smith employees

Cuming Smith employees

1920s

1922 - Field research and trials began to determine the responsiveness of legume pastures to the application of superphosphate.

1927 - Cuming Smith Mount Lyell Farmers Fertiliser Ltd (CSML) was established by Cuming Smith & Company, Mount Lyell Mining & Railway Co, and Westralian Farmers Superphosphates, each holding a 33 per cent share. CSML had a combined capacity output of 240,000 tonnes per year producing almost all superphosphate used in Western Australia.

In the first 20 years of operation, Cuming Smith & Company and Mount Lyell Mining & Railway Co delivered 1,925,000 tonnes of fertiliser to all parts of Western Australia. The sheep population doubled and wheat acreage increased 8-fold. This was a period of tremendous growth for agriculture and CSML played an important role in this development.

1928 - Cresco, a South Australian superphosphate manufacturer, commenced production at Bayswater Works.

1930s

1930 - CSML commissioned its Bunbury and Geraldton Works. This resulted in more efficient handling of railway rolling stock, saving farmers hundreds of thousands of pounds in freight charges and hastening the development of the ports of Geraldton and Bunbury. CSML also established farmer-based Pasture Improvement Groups to investigate and apply the benefits from fertilising pastures in farm rotations.

Geraldton Works

Geraldton Works c. 1930

1950s

1954 - Albany Superphosphate Company was formed by CSML and Cresco, and the company’s Albany Works were commissioned.

Albany opening - superphosphate

Albany works opening 1954

1960s

1962 - The company’s Esperance Works were commissioned and Albany Superphosphate Company commenced manufacturing at Esperance.

1963 - Boral purchased Mount Lyell Mining & Railway Co’s share of CSML (33 per cent).

1964 - British Petroleum (BP) then purchased Boral’s share of CSML, the new joint venture was renamed CSBP & Farmers Ltd. 

1967 - Kwinana Works sulphuric acid and superphosphate plants were commissioned. 

The sulphuric acid plant was a vital component in CSBP’s operation at Kwinana until 1996. It provided acid for fertiliser manufacture, steam for the ammonium nitrate prill and the granulation plant, pure water for the sodium cyanide and the CAP and power management and generation for the whole site.  

Kwinana works entrance CSBP

Kwinana Works Entrance

1968 - Kwinana Nitrogen Company (KNC) was formed by CSBP & Farmers (20 per cent) and BP (80 per cent). Kwinana Works phosphoric acid, ammonia, nitric acid, ammonium nitrate, and prilling plants were commissioned and Bassendean Works ceased all production.

1969 - North Fremantle Works ceased production. Supplies of the new nitrogen and compound fertilisers from Kwinana commenced. CSBP assisted CSIRO and Wesfarmers in a soil fertility research program as a preliminary to offering commercial soil testing for farmers in the 1970s. The company used these results to develop fertiliser recommendation models based on the nutrient content of the soil (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulfur). 

Field experimentation continued throughout the 1970s to refine the soil testing service, including the addition of nitrogen recommendations, and to develop plant testing services for major nutrients and trace elements.

North Fremantle pre demolotion of plant

North Fremantle pre-plant demolition CSBP

1970s

1970 - A new soil testing service, which generated recommendations for phosphorus and potassium fertiliser, was offered to farmers. CSBP & Farmers takeover Cresco Fertilisers. 

1971 - Soil testing and recommendation services began being offered to farmers. Bassendean Works and North Fremantle Works were decommissioned.

North Fremantle decommissioning plant

North Fremantle decomissioning

1972 - Kwinana granulating plant was commissioned.

1975 – A second Kwinana sulphuric acid plant was commissioned.

1976 – A second nitric acid plant was commissioned.

1977 - Westralian Farmers Cooperative Ltd takeover Cuming Smith Ltd and Westralian Farmers Superphosphate Ltd, to hold 66 per cent ownership of CSBP & Farmers Ltd.

1978 - Bayswater Works ceased production.

1980s

In the 1980s CSBP & Farmers Ltd sought to diversify its business into industrial chemicals, leveraging off its manufacturing base.

1981 – A second phosphoric acid plant was commissioned. 

1984 - Dyno and Wesfarmers Ltd takeover Dupont to form Dyno Wesfarmers. A hydrochloric acid plant was commissioned.

1986 - Wesfarmers Ltd acquired BP’s one-third share of CSBP & Farmers Ltd, becoming the sole owner. Bunbury granulating plant was decommissioned.

1987 - Wesfarmers Ltd became sole owner of Kwinana Nitrogen Co. A chlor-alkali plant was commissioned.

1988 - Australian Gold Reagents Pty Ltd (AGR) was formed through a joint venture between CSBP & Farmers Ltd, Coogee Chemicals and Australian Industry Development Corporation (AIDC) to produce sodium cyanide for the gold industry. A sodium cyanide plant was commissioned by AGR. The Bunbury acid plant was decommissioned.

1990s

The early 1990s saw the fertiliser market collapse.

1991 – The bagging of fertiliser ceased.

1993 - Dyno Explosives purchased the share of Dyno Wesfarmers held by Wesfarmers Ltd.

1994 - Rail transportation of fertiliser ceased. A $3 million customer service centre was opened, as CSBP recognised service was a key element of customer satisfaction.

1995 - The company began trading as Wesfarmers CSBP Ltd.

1996 - A third nitric acid and an ammonium nitrate plant were commissioned.

1997 - AIDC withdrew from AGR, ownership transferred to CSBP (75 per cent) and Coogee Chemicals (25 per cent). AGR expanded its sodium cyanide plant.

1999 - Queensland Nitrate Project (QNP), a joint venture between CSBP and Dyno Nobel Asia Pacific, is established.

2000s

2000 - QNP commissioned an ammonium nitrate plant in Queensland, and a 200,000 tonnes per annum ammonia plant was commissioned at Kwinana.

2001 - CSBP released its first liquid fertiliser, ‘Flexi-N’. A soil and plant analysis laboratory was opened at Bibra Lake.

Flexi-N in field

Flexi-N liquid fertiliser

CSBP Soil and plant laboratory

CSBP Soil & Plant laboratory at Bibra Lake

2002 - Geraldton and Esperance Works plants were decommissioned and demolished. AGR commissioned a sodium cyanide solids plant.

2003 - Wesfarmers CSBP Limited changed its name to CSBP Limited.

2006 - The expansion of CSBP’s ammonium nitrate production facility to 520,000 tonnes per annum at Kwinana commenced.

2007 - CSBP acquired AVC Holdings.

2008 - CSBP completed an expansion of its ammonium nitrate production facility at Kwinana.

2009 - CSBP produced more than 150 fertiliser and chemical products.

2010s

2010 - Wesfarmers Chemicals & Fertilisers (CSBP) and Wesfarmers Energy divisions merged to form a new division known as Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers. CSBP celebrated its centenary.

Entrance at Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers - Murdoch

Entrance at Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers - Murdoch

2011 - The expansion of CSBP’s $500 million ammonium nitrate production facility to 780,000 tonnes per annum at Kwinana commenced. The construction of a $5 million regenerative thermal oxidiser designed to broaden supply options for the company’s superphosphate manufacturing operation commenced.

2012 - CSBP Fertilisers launched a new environmentally friendly fertiliser called Super SR. 

2013 - AGR completed a $20 million Debottleneck expansion project to 78,000 tonnes per annum.

2014 - CSBP completed the expansion of its ammonium nitrate production facility at Kwinana, increasing production capacity to 780,000 tonnes per annum.

2015 - CSBP Fertilisers launched FERTview, a custom built application, which uses the Google Maps platform, allowing customers to view and interact with their sample data on a map of their farm; plan fertiliser applications; manage their spatial data; and view historic peak season satellite imagery to understand how each paddock is performing. 

CSBP commenced the closure of AVC Holdings’ PVC manufacturing facility in Laverton.


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