The phosphate market was hit this
year as the downturn in economic climate filtered through to
the fertiliser markets. As a result of this dip, 2012 spelled a
slowdown for short-term fertiliser demand, especially in the
Asian and European markets.
The year began with many companies,
such as PotashCorp., reporting drops in sales volumes and
decreased demand for phosphate in comparison to 2011
Prices also dipped in the first
half of the year as new capacity came online in the Middle
East, dealers remained reluctant to stockpile and prices
pulled back in phosphate end markets.
The market moved back on track
towards the second half, however, as phosphate sales volumes
once again began to increase.
In March, the EU announced plans to
ban imports of phosphates from Syria as part of sanctions
imposed on the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Exports of phosphate from the
Middle Eastern state to the EU were worth over Û97m
($128m) in 2010 and represented about 40% of Syrias total
exports of the fertiliser mineral.
The Syrian phosphate industry had
faced severe conditions during the start of the year with
transportation and production disruptions from protests as the
mines are located in the Homs province, the heart of the Syrian
revolution, and home of fertiliser plants and roads to export
Also in March, the Chinese
government sought to control the phosphate industry by buying
out small companies.
After rare earths and fluorspar,
phosphate is the third national strategic resource in China,
with export quotas limited for 2012 by the Ministry of Commerce
The China Chemical Mining
Association also announced in its 12th
five-year development plan for chemical and mining
industries, that it would establish a phosphate
reserves system; it also pledged to raise the level for
phosphate mining approvals and focus on establishing one to
three trans-regional and influential large phosphate
In India, where around 11m tpa
diammonium phosphate (DAP) is consumed, 7m tpa phosphate rock
was imported in 2011, according to Paris-based International
Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA).
Of the 2.3m tonnes of phosphoric
acid imported annually for fertiliser requirements in India,
Morocco, South Africa, Senegal, Jordan, Tunisia and the US
account for about 95% of total imports.
Jordan, Algeria, Togo, China,
Egypt, Vietnam and Morocco account for about 98%. Africas
contribution to Indian imports is 40-45% for phosphate rock,
reaching 80-85% for phosphoric acid.
Minemakers refuses to renew
In Australia, phosphate developer
Minemakers Ltd ended the joint-venture agreement with its
partner National Mineral Development Co. Ltd (NMDC) of India in
The joint venture was a partnership
in the development of the 1.6bn-tonne, grading at 11.6%
P2O5, Wonarah phosphate project in