Russia Bets on Hungry China With $6 Billion Fertilizer Mines – by Yuliya Fedorinova (Bloomberg News – November 8, 2017)

China’s dilemma of how to feed its booming population will partially be answered by fancier fertilizers, according to one of the world’s richest billionaires.

EuroChem Group AG, owned by Russian commodities tycoon Andrey Melnichenko, is spending over $6 billion on two mines to produce potash, a reddish mineral found deep in the Earth that’s prized for its ability as a soil fertilizer.

The company is counting on Asian farmers buying more sophisticated crop nutrients aimed at soil deficiencies or different crops, rather than saturating the ground with a blanket of chemicals. China’s farmers have long relied on heavy doses of state-subsidized fertilizer to boost yields, but that’s left fields contaminated.

“We forecast an explosive growth in demand for premium fertilizers in China,” Dmitry Strezhnev, EuroChem’s chief executive officer, said in an interview from Moscow.

Still, it’s a tough time to be a potash miner. Prices are near a decade-low and the market is mired in a glut. Companies including Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. have shuttered operations in the U.S. and Canada.

For the rest of this article: