Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Global assessment of potash

There are 1,000 potash deposits in 100 basins across the globe, and over 90% of the reserves are in marine deposits.

Mark Cocker with the USGS in Tucson, spoke to the Arizona Geological Society monthly meeting last night, overing a preview of the Global Mineral Assessment of potash that he is completing with Greta Orris.

Their study is focused primarily on resources outside the U.S. but Mark did postulate that the Holbrook basin potash deposit in eastern Arizona is likely a cratonic evaporite basin deposit (stratabound), in contrast to the halokinetic (i.e., diapiric) style.

Potash is used almost entirely in fertilizers, an application that only started in the late 1800s.  Global demand skyrocket in recent years pushing the price up 10 to 20 fold before sliding back during the recession.   Today, 85% of the world supply is produced by 16 countries the largest production in Canada, Germany, Belarus, Russia, US, and Israel.

Potash forms in a wide variety of environments ranging from deep marine to sabkhas to cratonic basins.   Deposits range from a million tons in a single diapir to several billion tons in large basins.

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