Potash Introduction

About Potash

"Potash" refers to a group of potassium (K) bearing minerals and chemicals.  The most dominant potash in the market is the compound, potassium chloride (KCl), a naturally occurring, pink, salty mineral. For the most part, potash-bearing rock deposits are derived from the minerals in ancient seas that dried up millions of years ago. Fertilizer potash is principally derived from these potash rocks and requires separation from salt and other minerals.

Potash Demand

Global demand for potash in 2012 is expected to be over 50 Mt¹. Canada, Russia and Belarus were the largest potash producers during 2011, with 13.5 Mt, 9.5 Mt and 7.5 Mt, respectively.  In 2012, despite severe drought in the US and adverse growing conditions in Russia, Ukraine and Australia, production is expected to fall short of consumption by more than 40%1

Potash Supply

Global potash inventories remain well below 25 year average¹, and consensus is that demand for potash will continue to grow, which will continue to support ongoing potash exploration and development.

Potash Uses

Ninety percent of the potash produced in the world is consumed by the agricultural industry as fertilizer, with remaining supplies being used in the production of chemicals. 

The compound KCl (potassium chloride) is one of the main fertilizer products.  It is crucial for plant development, growth and yield as it:

  • aids in water retention and photosynthesis
  • increases crop yield and resistance to disease
  • strengthens plant cells
  • speeds absorption of Nitrogen and Phosphates
  • is often referred to as the "regulator" in crop production, because potassium has a major influence on protein and starch formation, influencing over 60 enzyme systems

There are no known substitutes for potash.

Potash Price Overview2 (US$/Tonne Potash)


Source: Potash Corp
Note 1: Potash Corp Q4 2012 Market Update
Note 2: World Bank