10 Top Countries for Potash Production

- April 23rd, 2018

Potash production is on the rise, with potash companies on pace to produce 61 million MT by 2019. Canada leads the top potash-producing countries.

Potash fared a bit better in 2017 than it did the year before. Prices got a boost, increasing around 20 percent. That said, the industry is still vulnerable to oversupply, which the World Bank says has been worsened by declining demand.

Nonetheless, 2017 had some wins for potash producers. Chinese demand bounced back, and the country’s agreement with potash giant Uralkali (OTCMKTS:URAYY) established a much higher benchmark price for the year. Major producers also cut output, allowing prices to improve.

While many potash operations have closed in recent years, some are waiting on the sidelines for better days. These include projects such as BHP Billiton’s (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BLT) Jansen asset in Canada, which is on hold until it is able to pass “strict investment hurdles.”

Though potash supply is on the decline, in part owing to the closure of an underground mine in New Mexico, the US Geological Survey claims that between 2018 and 2021, new mines are set to “start production in Belarus, China, Russia, and Spain.” These new projects could add an additional 15 million MT of ouptut by 2021.

The organization estimates that consumption will increase to 45.6 million MT by 2021, and suggests that Asia and South America will be the largest potash consumers.

With that in mind, it’s worth looking at the top countries for potash production in 2017. Here’s an overview of the 10 countries that produced the most of the fertilizer, as per US Geological Survey data.

1. Canada

Mine production: 12 million MT

First on the list for top potash production is Canada. The country’s potash production jumped from 10 million MT in 2016 to 12 million MT in 2017.

Canada is home to Nutrien, the largest potash company by capacity. The company is newly formed, having been created via the merger of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan and Agrium. The two companies came together in January 2018 to “create a global agricultural giant” valued at $36 billion.

2. Russia

Mine production: 7.2 million MT

Potash production in Russia also hopped back in 2017. It put out 7.2 million MT of potash compared to 6.48 million MT in 2016. Uralkali is a major potash producer in Russia. The company has five mines and seven ore treatment mills. It exported 10.9 million tonnes of potash in 2017, a figure that represents growth of 16 percent year-over-year.

Attention Investors: Potash prices are at a new low. Could this be the perfect buying opportunity?

 

 

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3. Belarus

Mine production: 6.4 million MT

In Belarus, 2017 potash production was slightly below the amount put out in 2016. Potash production came in at 6.4 million MT last year compared to 6.18 million MT the year prior.

Belarusian Potash Company was once the most powerful potash firm in the industry, with some calling it a cartel. Since Uralkali pulled out of Belarusian in 2013, its former partner, state-owned Belaruskali, has had a rocky road to recovery. Belaruskali has six mines and four processing factories. Its reserves are estimated to be 247.5 million tons. Despite a recent accident at one of its mines involving a rock slide and two missing workers, Belaruskali’s production has not been affected.

4. China

Mine production: 6.2 million MT

Looking over to China, potash production remained the same from 2016 to 2017, at 6.2 million MT. Potash is extremely vital in China — the country is the largest consumer of the fertilizer, accounting for approximately 20 percent of world consumption.

5. Germany

Mine production: 2.9 million MT

In Germany, potash production stayed nearly the same from 2016 to 2017, going from 2.8 million MT to 2.9 million MT.

K+S (ETR:SDF) has a number of projects, operating six mines in three districts of Germany. The company began production at its new Bethune mine in Saskatchewan in 2017. K+S states that it is ramping up to have an annual capacity of 2.86 million tonnes of potash from the Bethune facility alone.

6. Israel

Mine production: 2.2 million MT

Potash production in Israel ramped up a bit in 2017. The country produced 2.2 million MT compared to 2.05 million MT the year before. The country is sixth in terms of potash production, and it also hosts the world’s sixth-largest potash-producing company: Israel Chemicals (TLV:ICL). The company has about 6 million MT of annual capacity, and produces roughly a third of the world’s bromine.

7. Jordan

Mine production: 1.3 million MT

While potash production in Jordan increased a bit from 2016 to 2017, the country fell short of Israel last year and got bumped down to seventh place. Arab Potash Company, located in Jordan, is the eighth-largest producer of potash by volume, and is the sole producer of potash in the Arab region. It has helped make Jordan a key potash supplier for India and Asia.

8. Chile

Mine production: 1.2 million MT

Chile recorded production of 1.2 million MT of potash in 2017, the same as the year before. One of the largest producers of potash in the country is Sociedad Quimica y Minera (NYSE:SQM), which is also a leading producer of lithium. South America in general is a large consumer of potash.

Attention Investors: Potash prices are at a new low. Could this be the perfect buying opportunity?

 

 

Get actionable data and industry insights from experts in the potash market. Click below to get your FREE market report on potash investing.   Get My Free Report Click here to download for free

9. Spain

Mine production: 680,000 MT

Spain remained in ninth place for potash production in 2017. Last year, the country produced 680,000 MT of potash, up from 670,000 MT the year prior. Spain has reserves of 44 million MT of potash. Geoalcali has a few potash projects in Spain, including: Izaga, Muga and Sierra Del Perdon.

10. United States

Mine production: 480,000 MT

The US bumped the UK from the 10th spot on the list in 2017. According to the US Geological Survey, total potash production for the US was worth $400 million in 2017, which represents a 25-percent decrease from the previous year. Production came mostly from Southeastern New Mexico and Utah.

The country put out 480,000 MT of potash for the year, a relatively steep drop from 2014, when it put out 850,000 MT of the mineral. The center of US potash production is New Mexico, where four mines are operated by two companies; Utah also has three potash operations. US potash goes largely to the fertilizer industry, with leftover output finding its way to the chemical and industrial sectors.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Amanda Kay, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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9 responses to “10 Top Countries for Potash Production

  1. I am an employee of ICL company in Ethiopia Danakil depression. we are striving to be a solution for potash demand in the world. your web site plays a great to know more about potash type and production strategies as well. keep it Up!!

  2. I am an employee of ICL company in Ethiopia Danakil depression. we are striving to be a solution for potash demand in the world. your web site plays a great to know more about potash type and production strategies as well. keep it Up!!

  3. Could these two consumption numbers be mixed up? – In terms of consumption, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that it is expected to increase from 49 million tons in 2016 to 43 million tons in 2019.

    1. Hi Murray, thanks for the comment! That was a typo — the US Geological Survey estimates that consumption will rise from 39 million MT in 2016 to 43 million MT in 2019. We have updated the article with the correct information.

  4. Could these two consumption numbers be mixed up? – In terms of consumption, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that it is expected to increase from 49 million tons in 2016 to 43 million tons in 2019.

    1. Hi Murray, thanks for the comment! That was a typo — the US Geological Survey estimates that consumption will rise from 39 million MT in 2016 to 43 million MT in 2019. We have updated the article with the correct information.

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