LONDON (ICIS)–Deep in the Amazon lies a wide clearing – an unremarkable space overlooked by jungle trees with little sign of human habitation. However, if muriate of potash (MOP) start-up Brazil Potash pulls off its plan, the sleepy jungle of Autazes could soon be home to the nation’s largest MOP mine – a scheme CEO Matt Simpson believes could vastly reduce Brazil’s near-complete reliance on imported potash fertilizer.
Simpson – an experienced industry professional in the field of mining – heads up Brazil Potash, which formed in 2009 with a simple plan: to provide Brazil’s immense agricultural industry with a homegrown source of the vital mineral fertilizer.
‘Potash’ is the umbrella term for a number of potassium-rich fertilizers used the world over to support plant nutrition, improve yields, and fend off disease.
A multi-billion-dollar industry, the global potash market is largely producer-controlled, and centred in just a few key producing nations, including Russia, Canada, Belarus, and Germany.
Brazil, meanwhile, cannot claim a burgeoning MOP industry of its own. In fact, despite being the world’s largest net exporter of agricultural products, Brazil Potash says the country imports 94% of its MOP from mines as far afield as 20,000km distant.
Brazilian granular potash prices edged to $300/tonne CFR (cost and freight) in late January – and are likely to increase further as continued availability concerns, strong demand, and high international freight costs combine to keep MOP producers bullish in their negotiations.
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