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March 4, 2015

Plenty of #potash, but almost no low cost sources for crop production @MINING

While
the earth contains enough potash to meet the increased global demand
for crop production  and U.S. supplies are likely secure, some regions
lack potash deposits needed for optimal food crop yields.
...there
appears to be little to no potential to develop potash mines in either
China or India, where large populations create the need for highly
productive agricultural land


Plenty of potash, but almost no low cost sources for crop production US Geological Survey 

March 3, 2015

While
the earth contains enough potash to meet the increased global demand
for crop production  and U.S. supplies are likely secure, some regions
lack potash deposits needed for optimal food crop yields. According to a
recent USGS global assessment of potash resources, the costs of
importing potash long distances can limit its use and imports are
subject to supply disruptions.

“Global scarcity is not the issue
with potash – transportation costs are,” said USGS scientist Greta
Orris, who led the assessment. “We chose to assess potash because it is
used primarily for fertilizer and with the increasing global population,
the need for agricultural lands to be increasingly productive will
continue,” said Orris.

The U.S. imports more than 80 percent of
the potash it uses, mostly from the Elk Point Basin in Saskatchewan,
Canada. The Elk Basin is the world’s largest source of potash, having
provided at least 20 percent of the world’s potash supply for nearly 40
years.

The
U.S. produces potash from deposits in Utah and New Mexico. While
production from the Michigan basin recently ceased, a large potash
resource exists there.  Production and development of resources in
Michigan have been hindered by low potash prices, dated production
equipment, and poor transport infrastructure amongst other factors. A
significant potash resource in Arizona has also been identified, but
resources in other states tend to be relatively small.This global assessment, which includes a summary report and accompanying database,
is the most complete, up-to-date, GIS-based, global compilation of
information on known and potential potash resources from evaporite
sources. The database includes more than 900 known potash deposits with
measured resources. It also outlines 84 tracts throughout the world
where undiscovered future resources might be found.

there
appears to be little to no potential to develop potash mines in either
China or India, where large populations create the need for highly
productive agricultural land, which in turn requires large amounts of
appropriate fertilizers
“A significant finding of
this assessment is that there appears to be little to no potential to
develop potash mines in either China or India, where large populations
create the need for highly productive agricultural land, which in turn
requires large amounts of appropriate fertilizers,” said Orris. “High
import costs have resulted in lower usage of potash fertilizers than
commonly seen in the U.S., and the potential for the land to be less
productive.”

Potash includes a variety of minerals, ores, or
processed products that contain potassium, one of three primary plant
nutrients essential for growing food crops and biofuels. Modern
agriculture requires large quantities of potassium so crop production is
adequate to feed a growing population as arable land acreage becomes
more limited. While potassium can be derived from other sources,
conventional potash deposits – those formed by evaporation — are the
only cost- effective source for large quantities of potassium needed for
high-yield agriculture.

The known deposits include location,
geology, resource, production and other descriptive information.
Potash-bearing basins may host tens of millions to more than 100 billion
metric tons of potassium. Examples include Elk Point Basin in Canada,
the Pripyat Basin in Belarus, the Solikamsk Basin in western Russia, and
the Zechstein Basin in Germany.

The biggest potash producers are
Canada, Russia, Belarus, and Israel. In addition to China and India,
other areas lacking conventional deposits include much of Africa,
Australia, and South America.

For the 84 tracts, the quantities of
undiscovered resources are not estimated in this report. Instead, the
tracts are classified into six categories that rank their potential to
provide potash resources in 25 to 50 years based on known resources in
the tract, level of available information, and whether geologic or other
deficiencies, such as lack of water, power, or other infrastructure,
could prevent or delay development of deposits. Potash tracts that may
have potash deposits in production within the next five years include
those in Ethiopia and the Republic of Congo.

More information on global and domestic potash, including demand, production, and uses is available from the USGS

See the article on Mining.com here: Plenty of potash, but almost no low cost sources for crop production | MINING.com



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