10 Top Potash Countries by Production
Sanctions against Russia may produce investment opportunities
Canada leads the top potash countries by production, but what are the other major producers? This list outlines the top 10.
The top potash countries by production have weathered the COVID-19 storm that plagued many commodities in 2020, and robust demand has pushed prices higher and higher in 2021.
That’s welcome news for the sector — many potash-mining operations have closed in recent years, and some are waiting on the sidelines for better days and improvements in the potash price.
“World potash consumption was estimated to have been about the same as in 2019 at about 41 million tons of K2O,” according to a US Geological Survey (USGS) report. “Asia and South America were the leading consuming regions. World consumption of potash was projected to increase slightly in 2021, with Asia and South America as the leading regions for growth.”
Looking at supply, the USGS states that world potash capacity is projected to rise to 69 million metric tons (MT) in 2024 from 64 million MT in 2020. The increase is expected to come mainly from muriate of potash from new mines and expansion projects in Belarus, Canada, and Russia
The USGS estimates that global annual potash production reached 43 million MT in 2020. So what were the top potash countries by production last year? Read through the list below to find out the answers.
Mine production: 14 million MT
Leading the list of the top potash countries by production is Canada. The nation is the world’s largest potash producer, with potash production growing by 1.7 million MT in 2020 over 2019 production levels.
Nutrien (TSX:NTR,NYSE:NTR), the largest potash company, is based in the Canadian prairie province of Saskatchewan. The company is the result of a 2018 merger between two crop nutrient companies, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan and Agrium. The partnership has been described as creating “a global agricultural giant” valued at nearly US$44 billion.
Mine production: 7.6 million MT
In 2020, potash production in Russia was up from 2019’s output of 7.34 million MT, helping the country to overtake Belarus as the world’s second largest potash producer. Uralkali (MCX:URKA) is Russia’s premier potash company, as well as one of the world’s leading potash producers, accounting for roughly 20 percent of global supply. The company has five mines and seven ore treatment and processing mills.
Mine production: 7.3 million MT
Potash production in Belarus dropped slightly by 50,000 MT from 2019 levels to total 7.3 million MT in 2019. Output in the Eastern European country has been on an upward trajectory since 2016, when its potash production total came in at 6.4 million MT.
Belarusian Potash Company is the country’s largest industry operator. 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.
Mine production: 5 million MT
China is another of the top potash countries by production. Output in the Asian nation has remained relatively the same from 2016 to 2020, at around 5 million MT. Potash is extremely vital in China — the country is the largest consumer of potash fertilizer, accounting for approximately 20 percent of world potash consumption. China’s domestic demand for potash fertilizer is overtaking its homegrown potash supply, making the country reliant on potash imports, especially for muriate of potash.
Mine production: 3 million MT
In Germany, potash production has remained relatively stable, ranging from 2.7 million MT to 3 million MT between 2016 to 2020. K+S (ETR:SDF) is one of Germany’s leading potash miners and has a number of projects, operating six mines in three districts of Germany.
Mine production: 2 million MT
Annual potash production in Israel has remained unchanged for the past few years, totaling about 2 million MT since 2017. 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 produces roughly a third of the world’s bromine, which is often extracted from the same salt water and brine deposits that produce potash.