Potash Demand Fundamentals
Potash growth is underpinned by strong demand drivers including growing population, reduction in arable land and changing dietary preferences. The overall equation for ongoing growth in potash demand however is simple:
What is Potash?
Potash is the common term for fertiliser forms of the element potassium (K). The name derives from the collection of wood ash in metal pots when the beneficial fertiliser properties of this material were first recognised many centuries ago.
Potassium is one of three key fertiliser ‘macro-nutrients’ essential for healthy soil and plant growth. It is generally used in combination with the other two macro-nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, to produce a range of fertilisers, the type used being dependent on the soil to which it will be applied.
Potassium is essential to the workings of every living plant cell. It not only plays an important role in plants’ water utilisation but also helps regulate the rate of photosynthesis. Potassium promotes the growth of strong stalks, protects plants from extreme temperatures and enhances their ability to cope with stress. Importantly, there is no substitute for potash.
Commonly, Potash refers to Potassium Chloride or Muriate of Potash (MOP), however, a number of other potash variants exist with premium potash types containing micro nutrients as well as macro nutrients such as potassium sulphate, potassium magnesium sulphate and potassium nitrate.
Potassium bearing minerals are typically found in areas where ancient inland seas have evaporated leaving behind their minerals. The Danakil salt basin is a positively unique example as it is one of only very few known potash deposits where kainite, a sulphate bearing mineral key for potassium sulphate production, is found in solid form.