Potash and Phosphates

Potash refers to potassium compounds and potassium-bearing materials, the most common being potassium chloride (KCl). Potassium is the third major plant and crop nutrient after nitrogen and phosphorus. Phosphate, an inorganic chemical, is a salt of phosphoric acid. 

Potash: 12 months
1 Year Potash Prices - Potash Price Chart

Phosphates: 12 months
Phosphates charts on InfoMine.com
Potash prices have soared in recent years. What was once a commodity worth about $200 a tonne is expected to reach $1,500 by 2020; Vancouver prices were US$872.50 per tonne in 2009, which was a record high.As of November 2011 potash prices have dropped to about $470 per metric tonne. Potash imports and exports are often reported in "K2O equivalent", although fertilizer never contains potassium oxide, per se, because potassium oxide is caustic and hygroscopic.

List of potash stocks with latest financial data

The world's largest consumers of potash are China, the United States, Brazil and India. Brazil imports 90% of the potash it needs.

Potash Corporation is the world’s largest fertilizer company by capacity, producing the three primary crop nutrients – potash (K), phosphate (P) and nitrogen (N). As the world’s leading potash producer, they are responsible for about 20 percent of global capacity. It has operations and business interests in seven countries,

Production and resources of potash
(2010, in million tonnes)
 United States0.9130
 United Kingdom0.422
Other countries50
World total339500
Source: USGS

Global potash demand to rise in 2013 - PotashCorp

According to PotashCorp CFO, Wayne Brownlee, global demand for the fertilizer is set to climb to between 56 million and 60 million tonnes in 2013
Author: Rod Nickel, Posted: Thursday , 06 Sep 2012, WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (REUTERS) -

Global demand for the soil nutrient potash, key for growing crops like corn, looks likely to climb to between 56 million and 60 million tonnes in 2013, depending largely on a potential sales rebound to India, the chief financial officer of Potash Corp of Saskatchewan said on Thursday. Global potash demand in 2012 looks likely to total around 53 million tonnes, CFO Wayne Brownlee said in an online question-and-answer session. "The question is, how robust is the Indian response going to be in 2013," he said. "That is going to be the key determinant, but given where grain prices are, food prices are, given the amazing incentive farmers have right now for making a profit in the next 12 months, it looks pretty good." India is the second-biggest potash buyer globally, but sales slumped this year after its government lowered subsidies for potash and phosphate, making those fertilizers more expensive for Indian farmers. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Potash Corp is the world's biggest fertilizer maker. Grain prices have shot up this year due mainly to severe drought in the U.S. Midwest, offering farmers a chance to maximize profits by boosting plant yields through fertilizer. Canpotex Ltd, the marketing agency that sells Saskatchewan potash to offshore markets on behalf of Potash Corp, Mosaic Co and Agrium Inc , will hold discussions in the next week or two with Chinese buyers on a supply contract for the second half of 2012, Brownlee said. But Brownlee said he was not sure if they would agree on a contract in September. A new contract between Canpotex and Indian buyers is also expected in the second half, but Brownlee said India's politics make the situation difficult to predict. Most of Potash Corp's production comes from the Western Canadian province of Saskatchewan, which is home to an estimated 40 percent of global potash reserves. The Saskatchewan government depends on potash for hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties annually, and has said it may change its royalty formula to lean more heavily on production levels than it currently does. "We're not overly worried about that," Brownlee said. "There's not been an indication that there will be a revenue grab coming at us at all, and if anything it would be more of a finessing or fine-tuning ... to still get the investment but also perhaps generate a bit more stability for the government." Along with expansions by existing players, Germany's K+S AG and BHP Billiton Ltd have started work on new mines. Saskatchewan is concerned that too much new production will pressure potash prices, which may reduce its royalty take.
© Thomson Reuters 2012 All rights reserved

Potash and phosphates in Africa
The African continent is becoming one of the most important areas for the exploration soil nutrient minerals from phosphate to potash. Whereas the latter resource is being developed in the Horn of Africa region thanks to high quality discoveries at shallow depths on Eritrea and Ethiopia, phosphate mining is growing in West Africa. Morocco remains the world’s largest producer, but important sources are being developed in other parts of the continent as well including Senegal, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Angola. Angola is something of a special case as it has known phosphate resources with strong development potential as well as potash – though unlike the East African counterparts, the potash in Angola is richer in bishofite than sylvinite (the most typical ore for potash production in North America). The Horn of Africa is also rich in Sulfate of Potash (SOP), which is especially prized.