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Phosphate/Potash Latest News

  • Mosaic may lose up to 400,000 tonnes phosphate after Irma

    Friday, 22 September 2017

    The phosphate fertiliser and potash producer said it was fortunate to avoid major damage due to hurricane Irma, but it expects to lose phosphate production in Q3.

  • Hurricane Irma impacts Mosaic Q3 production

    Monday, 18 September 2017

    The phosphate fertiliser and potash producer has announced that its Q3 output will be affected by Hurricane Irma, but the exact impact is unclear until the company completes its facilities assessments. Meanwhile, Mosaic will not be making any price offers until the final damage is known.

  • Higher phosphate rock, fertiliser sales lift OCP Q2 earnings

    Wednesday, 13 September 2017

    The world’s largest phosphate producer, OCP, reported higher Q2 earnings. Although demand remained strong in H2, the market will be price-sensitive to Chinese exporters' behaviour.

  • Canada approves PotashCorp-Agrium merger

    Tuesday, 12 September 2017

    The merger of two of the largest North American fertiliser producers has been granted approval from the Canadian regulator, but the clearance process for the transaction continues in the US, China and India.

More from Phosphate/Potash Latest News

Phosphate/Potash Pricing News

  • Price Briefing 11-17 August

    Friday, 18 August 2017

    Graphite prices rise again; magnesia up as environmental back on Lioaning; iodine increases; antimony trioxide stays unchanged in midsummer; Industrial Minerals proposes to delist barytes and bentonite grades; fluorspar drops; ICL and APC conclude potash supply contracts with India.

  • ICL conclude 2017 potash contract with India

    Monday, 14 August 2017

    Tel Aviv-heaquartered ICL has finalised several one-year potash supply contracts with Indian buyers at a higher price.

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Phosphate/Potash Features

  • Potash and phosphate: Demanding industries

    Friday, 07 July 2017

    The need for food is growing in step with a swelling global population and the mineral fertiliser industry is under pressure to ensure that nutrient supply keeps up with consumption, Cameron Perks, IM Correspondent, finds.

  • US exiting Paris Treaty not expected to impact minerals sector

    Friday, 07 July 2017

    In the wake of President Trump’s announcement that the US will be pulling out of the 2015 Paris Climate Treaty, IM looks at the significance of this move and the possible impact this will have on the industrial minerals market. By Mark Rowe

  • 2016 Year in Review

    Thursday, 15 December 2016

    A round up of the year's main events in major global industrial minerals markets such as lithium, agriminerals, rare earths and titanium dioxide.

More from Phosphate/Potash Features

Phosphate/Potash Market Brief

Phosphate rock (27-35% P2O5) is the feedstock for phosphate fertilisers and phosphoric acid, with small supply as slag from the steel industry (10-20% P2O5).

The ore is processed into fertiliser using acid. Sulphuric acid produces MAP, DAP, SSP and complex fertilisers, while phosphoric acid results in TSP. Nitric acid produces slurry NP for use as a feed in complex fertilisers (see table).

In 2008, global production was 174.4m. tpa, the main producers being China (29%), the USA (18.5%), Morocco (16.7%), and Russia (6.5%).

The term potash broadly refers to potassium salts, although in commercial terms it is generally understood to mean potassium chloride (KCl) or more precisely, muriate of potash (MOP).

Potassium minerals are often mixed with other evaporite minerals including halite, anhydrite or gypsum, and epsomite.


Global potash production is estimated at 61.2m. tpa. North America is home to the world’s leading potash producers and to the most exploration projects, Canada leading the way with major production. Russia is the second major producer after Canada.

Europe has limited producers but a substantial supply. Brazil has a small potash output at present, but new projects are expected to come into production by 2016 to significantly increase the country’s capacity.

China, which has a very little domestic potash production, imports the vast majority of its consumption. Securing future supply is very high on China’s agenda.

There are no potash producers in Africa or India but several exploration projects are underway in these regions.

Global phosphate production was about 174.4m. tpa in 2008, the main producers being China (29%), the USA (18.5%), Morocco (16.7%) and Russia (6.5%).

The main phosphate producers are The Mosaic Co., PotashCorp. and CF Industries in the USA in addition to Office Chérifien des Phosphate (OCP) in Morocco which has a 20m. tpa capacity.

North Africa is host to significant phosphate reserves, notably in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Western Sahara. Morocco is said to have the largest phosphate reserves in the world.

The balance in the phosphate routes may change within the next two years when Saudi Arabia is expected start new phosphate production. The Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Ma’aden) will be the country’s first phosphate producer with 12m. tonnes of phosphate rock output from 2011.

With Saudi Arabia close to the markets of India and Pakistan, the two major phosphate consumers could switch to Saudi phosphate from North African sources.


Although the fertiliser mine-to-market chain has been hit hard since the end of 2008, the industry seems to be bouncing back with high demand for phosphate and, above all, potash.

In addition to North America, Asia (mainly China and India) and South America (mainly Brazil) are big consumers of fertiliser minerals. Sub-Saharan Africa’s appetite for phosphate and potash is also expected to grow significantly within the next decade.

As potash soared towards $1,000/tonne in 2008 it was hailed as the first mineral to smash the high bulk, low value perception of industrial minerals. When the global economy crashed in September of that year, demand for the fertiliser mineral quickly evaporated.

But potash is back to the centre of attention as shown by the BHP Billiton/Potash Corp. saga which started in August 2010. Existing potash producers remain focused on significantly expanding operations.

About 85-95% of phosphate is used for the fertilisers industry, including phosphoric acid. The remaining 5-10% is consumed for industrial uses (chemical reagent, electro polishing, catalyst); medical uses (pharmaceutical, water treatment, dental); and retail uses (soap, carbonated drinks, animal feed).

After gloomy times following to financial downturn, the mid to long-term trend is very positive for the phosphate industry and phosphate consumption is expected to grow closely in parallel to developing population and increasing wealth of emerging countries such as China and India.