Potash is an essential crop nutrient, with demand driven by the fundamental factors of expanding global population, decreasing arable land and a shift to more nutrient-rich diets in developing countries. Most commercial potash production derives from the mining and processing of the major potassium minerals, sylvinite and carnallite, from evaporite basins located in certain parts of the world, though it is also produced from evaporation of brine lakes, such as the Dead Sea (Israel/Jordan) and Qinghai Lake (China).
With the pending development of the country’s potash resources, Thailand is poised to become the potash industry’s “new frontier”, as development of the country’s massive potash resources contained within the Khorat evaporite basin commences. Three developing projects have now advanced to the feasibility, financing and licencing stage. Present annual production of potash is about 60 million tonnes (KCl), increasing at about 3% per annum. Potash production is confined to a limited number of countries and the major producing countries include Canada, Russia, Belarus, Germany and Israel. China. The largest importers of potash are the US, China, India, SE Asia and Brazil. As a recent USGA Technical Announcement (Mar. 3, 2015) stated, “Global scarcity is not the issue with potash – transportation costs are”. Existing production facilities are located a considerable distance from the major demand areas and face major transportation costs to such markets.