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Potash Companies to Scale Back Mining Activities
USAgNet - 12/18/2017

The world's largest producer of potash used in fertilizers says it is temporarily cutting production at two mines to help balance supply output. It's a move that is also likely to help strengthen the global price for potash, which has been rebounding this year.

Potash companies that are suddenly on investors' radar as a result include Potash Ridge, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc., The Mosaic Company, and Uralkali.

About 95% of potash is used for fertilizer in agriculture with the remaining 5% used in commercial and industrial products such as soap. Where potassium is deficient in the soil, potash fertilizers can correct the problem and boost crop yields and quality.

Large producers of potash have benefited from stronger pricing over the last year and even smaller producers are leveraging the rise. One junior mining company getting attention for its North American interests is Potash Ridge (TSX: PRK) (OTC: POTRF), which is a potential near term producer in Utah and Quebec.

Large miners have seen an increase in global demand for potash this year, but are moving to balance supplies in the areas they service including Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (TSX: POT) (NYSE: POT), the world's largest supplier, The Mosaic Company (NYSE: MOS) a large global producer based in Minnesota, and Uralkali (URAYY), the Russian fertilizer production company with operations around the world.

Potash is a naturally occurring mineral created during the evaporation of ancient sea beds. Potash is also referred to as Muriate of Potash or Potassium Chloride (MOP) and Sulphate of Potash (SOP) or Potassium Sulphate.

Potassium is one of the three primary crop nutrients required for plant growth. Potassium serves as the "Regulator" of many essential processes within the plant.

MOP, which is also known as KCI, is widely used in all types of farming, but contains a chloride ion that can be detrimental towards plant growth, especially fruits and vegetables. If the chloride content isn't managed, it can lead to low quality crops and inhibit place growth in dry soils and saline areas.

MOP is the most widely used potassium fertilizer and has a global market size of about 55 million tons per year.

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