While China and Morocco continue to be the largest producers of phosphate worldwide, the US is still the third-largest phosphate-producing country, putting out 27.1 million tonnes (Mt) in 2014.
Meanwhile, Canada didn’t make the cut in terms of top phosphate-producing countries, with no recorded production last year. However, there are a couple of projects making progress in the country, and overall, Canada holds 76 Mt in reserves.
Here’s a look at phosphate producers in North America, as well as new mines expected to come online in both Canada and the US in the near future.
Phosphate mining in USA
Led by Minnesota-based Mosaic (NYSE:MOS), the world’s largest phosphate producer, the US has a strong history of phosphate production and refinement. Mosaic has various operations in Florida and Louisiana, and the company produced a total of 2.4 Mt in 2014.
The US is the third-biggest phosphor fertilizer consumer in the world, and American projects have been able to supply most domestic demand. The largest US phosphate reserves and production occur in Florida, North Carolina, Idaho and Utah. Florida and North Carolina accounted for approximately 80 percent of total US output in 2014, with the remainder coming from Utah and Idaho.
Canada’s Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (TSX:POT) is the next-largest producer in the US, with phosphate operations based in North Carolina and Florida. In 2014, the Aurora phosphate rock operation in North Carolina produced 4.35 Mt at 25.95 percent P2O5, while White Springs in Florida had total output of 2 Mt at 29.88 percent P2O5.
Phosphate mining in Canada
With relatively limited economic phosphate resources, Canada plays a much smaller role in North American and global phosphate extraction and production. That being said, a couple of notable projects can be found there.
Agrium (TSX:AGU,NYSE:AGU) opened Canada’s first phosphate mine in Kapuskasing, Ontario in 1999; however, production ceased in 2012 after the mine’s economic phosphate rock reserves were depleted. The company is now focused on its potash operations in Canada and the US.
Located 140 kilometers northwest of Kapuskasing, PhosCan Chemical (TSX:FOS) is currently developing its 20,600-acre Martison phosphate project. The project has a measured and indicated mineral resource of 62.2 Mt grading 23.55 percent phosphate and 0.34 percent niobium; its inferred resource stands at 55.7 Mt averaging 21.87 percent P2O5.
Arianne Phosphate (TSXV:DAN) is focused on advancing its Lac à Paul phosphate project in Quebec and has received support from the province through the Plan Nord program. Last fall, the government of Quebec announced plans to invest $2 million into the $1.2-billion project, with the expectation that it will create some 2,200 construction jobs and 1,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Since then, the company has increased Lac à Paul’s measured and indicated resource to 702.7 Mt at 7.16 percent P2O5 with a cut off of 4 percent P2O5, and has also signed cooperative agreements with First Nations in the area. On December 22, Arianne received approval from the Quebec government, giving it permission to develop the proposed $1.2 billion project.
Finally, Australia-based Fertoz (ASX:FTZ) has projects in both Canada and the US, but has mainly been focused on its flagship Wapiti phosphate project in British Columbia. In May, the company upgraded the project’s JORC resource and also released scoping study results. Wapiti’s combined inferred and indicated resource now sits at 1.54 Mt at 21.6 percent P2O5; it was calculated to a depth of 30 meters along a strike length of 12.5 kilometers and at a cut off of 7 percent.
This is an updated version of an article originally published on Potash Investing New on January 30, 2012.
Securities Disclosure: I, Kristen Moran, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.