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Phosphate/Potash

Phosphate/Potash Latest News

  • Low fertiliser prices cut OCP’s 2016 earning

    Friday, 24 March 2017

    The world’s largest phosphate producer, OCP, reported lower Q4 and 2016 revenue but the company believes the market has bottomed out and demand will remain strong owing to stable crop fundamentals.

  • ICL plunges into loss in 2016

    Friday, 17 March 2017

    Tel Aviv-based ICL reported losses in 2016 as weak fertiliser prices continued to pressure financial performance, while expenses from assets write-off and legal cost further slashed earnings. The producer maintained a positive demand outlook for potash and phosphate product.

  • Price Briefing 10-16 March

    Friday, 17 March 2017

    Antimony trioxide spot prices spike; magnesia unchanged but supply to remain tight; China-origin soda ash falls.

  • Canpotex secures higher potash spot prices in April

    Friday, 17 March 2017

    Canada-based Canpotex believes a sale of spot potash tonnage to Brazil for April delivery at a higher price signifies that the fertiliser market is improving.

More from Phosphate/Potash Latest News

Phosphate/Potash Pricing News

  • Price Briefing 10-16 March

    Friday, 17 March 2017

    Antimony trioxide spot prices spike; magnesia unchanged but supply to remain tight; China-origin soda ash falls.

  • Canpotex secures higher potash spot prices in April

    Friday, 17 March 2017

    Canada-based Canpotex believes a sale of spot potash tonnage to Brazil for April delivery at a higher price signifies that the fertiliser market is improving.

  • JPMC to supply 5.2m tonnes of phosphate ore to India

    Thursday, 16 March 2017

    The state-owned Jordanian phosphate mining company will be supplying over 5 million tonnes of phosphate ore to India in 2017. The company is expecting to see prices improving in Q2.

  • Price Briefing 10-16 February

    Friday, 17 February 2017

    Cristal joins other producers to announce a further price hike in titanium dioxide this week, while spodumene producer sold lithium concentrate for delivery in H1 2017; Chinese rare earths producer announced price increase.

More from Phosphate/Potash Pricing News

Phosphate/Potash Features

  • 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.

  • Fertilisers: Facing the future

    Wednesday, 24 February 2016

    As the agriminerals industry comes under pressure from a skewed supply-demand balance, James Sean Dickson, IM Correspondent, discovers how fertiliser producers are coming up with new products and making use of the latest technology to ensure profitability.

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.


Supply

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.

Markets

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.