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About Humates

What They Are



The brown coal fields of the Gippsland basin in South-eastern Victoria are the only known source of high quality humates in Australia, producing what is possibly the richest of all humates mined in the world today!

These brown coals or lignite’s were formed when Australia was part of a great land mass called “Gondwanaland” some 20-50 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

In geological time this period was between the Late Eocene and Middle Miocene ages when, in waterlogged environments, plant and tree debris accumulated. As the layer of debris increased in thickness, the floors of these vast swamps subsided slowly, and the plant material was decomposed by the action of micro-organisms.



To varying degrees, and depending upon the climatic conditions plant constituents, including proteins, starches and cellulose were decomposed under aerobic conditions (in the presence of oxygen) by a process called “Humification”.

This process results in the formation of thick layers of rich peat and humic materials. This is why some people call the brown coals of Victoria the “50-million-year-old compost.” As this material is covered with sediment, the combined effects of time, temperature and pressure convert the peat firstly to brown coal and then to black coals.

In the transition from brown coal to black coals humate content decreases, oxygen content decreases and carbon content increases. Generally speaking, the older the coal the lower the humate content. Black coals have no humate, but the brown coals in Victoria are rich in humate being relatively young. These humate rich coals are found in the South-eastern part of Australia in the Gippsland Basin.

Within the Gippsland Basin of Victoria where these brown coals are found, there also occurs a unique geological material which has undergone natural, in situ, weathering and oxidation. This material is known as Australian Leonardite.



Australian Leonardite is very similar to Leonardite from the USA although being younger and more highly oxidised, it is richer in humate. The American Leonardite has often been claimed to be the benchmark standard for humic acids, until these unique oxidised coals in Australia were discovered.

This Australian Leonardite is the raw material for Omnia Specialties Humate based agricultural products.

What makes Omnia’s’ Humate special as opposed to others found around the world?  The ingredients…

The Gippsland humates have a high humic and fulvic acid content that was born from a fresh water site.  They are extracted in a process that allows these fractions to be very soluble. Then after the extraction process, the Humic solution is then dried at lower temperatures to preserve all the valuable organics left with no ash content.

All of Omnia Specialties Australian Humate products are analysed according to the California Food & Drug Administration (CDFA) method to determine humic acid content. Recent independent testing of various humate liquids, using the CDFA method of analysis, showed that some products had less than 2% of the humate claimed on the label! Concentrations varied from between 27.8% w/v potassium humate in Omnia’s K-humate 26% to as little as 0.33% in oppositions products.