The agriculture sector forms the economic backbone for most of the developing countries. Presently, emerging economies such as India, Indonesia, China and Ghana are still heavily dependent on agriculture for the growth of their economies. The dependence of emerging countries on agriculture, coupled with the rise in population can act as the driver for the development of potash mining market. Potash is mostly used in the manufacturing of fertilizers. Further, as forecasted by Uralalkali, one of the largest producers of potash; the demand for potash can reach upto 60 million tons in 2014 from 58 million tons in 2013. Presently, around 90% of the total potash is used in the fertilizer sector with Asia and Latin America as the major markets.
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Global Potash Mining Market: Segmentation
The segmentation of the potash mining market can be done on the basis of mining technologies, end use of potash and the location of the major potash producing and consuming countries of the world. Most of the potash mines are the deep mines, located at the depth of around 1,400 meters. Others include surface mines, which can be mined using strip mining techniques. The deep underground potash mines are mined using the underground mining techniques.
Manganese underground mining is used to extract the manganese present in deep down the earth crust. The underground mining includes the use of vertical shafts and adits to reach the ore body from where the mineral is present. The potash ore, which is present at the surface, can be mined using the strip mining procedure. During the strip mining, the rock or the soil that is present over the deposit is removed to reach the ore body. Besides, being used as fertilizer, the potash can also be used in recycling of aluminum, snow and ice melting, medicines, and oil well drilling fluid.
The regional segmentation of the potash mining market can be done on the basis of location of major potash producing and consuming countries. The major producers of potash include Canada and the United States in North America; Russia, Germany, Belarus, Spain and the United Kingdom in Europe; China in Asia Pacific and Chile and Brazil in Rest of World. According to USGS (United States Geological Survey), in 2011, Canada produced around 11.2 million tons of potash with the reserves of around 4,400 million tons. The major consumers of the potash include countries such as China, the United States, India and Brazil. According to Potash Brazil Limited, Brazil imported around 90% of its total potash requirement. Presently, Brazil accounts for around 80% of total potash consumption in Latin America region.
Global Potash Mining Market: Driver, Restraints, and Competitive Landscape
Increasing demand of fertilizers in agro-dependent economies, rise in population, and advancement in mining techniques and presence in abundance, are the major drivers for the potash mining market. The legal and environmental concerns related to land acquisition and mining respectively, along with the high capital requirement for conducting mining, are the major restraints to the potash mining market. The opportunities lie with the increase in demand for the improvement in the rate of crop production and quality.
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The major potash mining companies are BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto Limited, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc, The Mosaic Company, Agrium Inc., Red Metal Limited and Great Quest Metals Limited.
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