TOKYO, Sept 2 Phosphate is one of the three key
nutrients that are used in fertilisers, and is a target of
Japanese trading houses as they look to invest in upstream assets
overseas to tap growth in the fertiliser market. [ID:nTOE67T06I]
The other two nutrients are nitrogen and potash.
Phosphate contains phosphorous, an important element for the
human body to build and repair cell walls. It is found in the
form of phosphate rock, which is processed into diammonium
phosphate and other fertiliser derivatives.
While nearly 30 countries produce phosphate rock, China, the
United States and Morocco are the largest producers, together
accounting for two-thirds of world production. Morocco alone
accounts for more than 30 percent of global exports.
The world's top producers -- many of them are government
owned -- include Office Cherifien de Phosphate of Morocco, Mosaic
Co (MOS.N) of the U.S., FosAgro of Russia and Yuntianhua Group of
Annual global production is around 170 million tonnes, while
estimated reserves stand at 15 billion tonnes. This means the
reserves that can be developed using current technology can be
depleted in 90 years, according to data from the U.S. Geological
That compares with 230 year's worth of reserves for potash.
Here is a list of the world's top 5 phosphate producing
countries and their reserves.
Top 5 Phosphate Producers
(in mln tonnes)
Country Production (2008) Reserves
1 China 50 4,100
2 US 30.9 1,200
West Sahara 28 5,700
4 Russia 11 200
5 Tunisia 7.8 100
Source: U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Commodity Summaries
(Reporting by Yuko Inoue)