A huge deposit of potassium, which China desperately needs for agriculture, has been discovered in the northwestern province of Qinghai, the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) announced Friday. More than 156 million tonnes of potassium chloride was found during a preliminary exploration in the western part of the Qaidam Basin, according to the MLR…Full Article: Xinhua July 2016

Key Points

  • China applies potassium fertilizer on approximately 30 million hectares of farmland per year. In addition, China imports approximately 6 million MTs of potassium fertilizer per year.
  • Canada, Russia and Belarus reportedly produce 60% of the world’s potassium (potash) fertilizer.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In June 2016, China Development Bank (CDB) announced it would help finance the construction a potash factory in Belarus. The new factory will reportedly have annual production capacity of 2 million MTs of potassium chloride.
  • In 2014, China consumed 6.4 million MTs of potash (potassium compound).
  • From 2000 to 2013, Chinese potash (potassium compound) consumption increased from 3.7 million MTs to 6.2 million MTs. In 2013, Hunan accounted for 10% (638,600 MTs) of China’s potash consumption. The next largest consumer was Guangxi Region at 9% (572,779 MTs).
  • From 1980 to 2011, China’s chemical fertilizer usage has shifted to compound fertilizers at the expense of nitrogen fertilizers, despite the latter’s net consumption growth (see graph below). The share of nitrogen fertilizer consumption fell from 74% to approximately 42% of total consumption. Meanwhile, the share of compound fertilizer consumption increased from under 5% to roughly 35%. Phosphate’s share fell from 21% to 15%, and the share of potash increased from under 5% to approximately 12% of total consumption.

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