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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 1 (1978-1979)

Singleton, Richard H.; Searls, James P.
Potash,   pp. 713-727 ff. PDF (1.6 MB)


Page 713

  713PotashBy Richard H. Singleton1 and James P. Searls1 
 The U.S. potash market remained relatively unchanged as demand continued
for fertilizer to meet strong international requirements for U.S.-grown foodstuffs.
Potash production in the United States from known reserves was static. The
North American market was stable to tight as exporters met their usual markets
in 1978 and strove to pick up the U.S.S.R. cut-back in exports in 1979. Worldwide,
the market was balanced in 1978 but tight in 1979. In 1979, the U.S.S.R.
had production and transportation problems that hindered meeting their expanding
goals of exports. 
 Prices rose as the industry slowly recovered from overcapacity in the early
seventies. In the United States, average prices for muriate, standard, coarse,
and granular potash climbed from $76 per ton in 1978 to $95 per ton in 1979.
Canada and the 
U.S.S.R., with the largest known reserves, are planning large capacity increases.
Legislation and Government Pro. 
grams.—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has included new
potash
concentrators on their list of operations due priority attention. Although
present plants will not be required to meet proposed regulations, new standards
will go into effect in 1982 for new plants. 
 The Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) in New Mexico, adjacent to the
Carlsbad potash mining district, will include part of the potash reserves.
In 1979, the project received $22 million fiscal year 1980 authorization
to buy property, sink a development shaft, and develop drifts at the repository
level to further explore the site as a national security related nuclear
waste site. 
Table 1.—Salient statistics on potash1 
(Thousand metric tons and thousand dollars) 
Item 
1975 
1976 
1977 
1978 
1979 
United States 
Production                                 
4,151 
4,016 
4,241 
4,326 
4,271 
 K2Oequivalent                          Salesbyproducers                
 K2Oequivalent                           
 Value2                                 
 Average value per ton                     Exports3                     
 K2Oequivalent                           
 Value                                  
 2,269 
 3,465 
 1,900 
$187,900 
 $54.22 
 1,287 
 707 
$92,700 
 2,177 
 4,184 
 2,268 
$210,800 
 $50.37 
 1,514 
 857 
$91,900 
 2,229 
 4,241 
 2,232 
$206,900 
 $48.78 
 1,497 
 845 
$90,200 
 2,253 
 4,358 
 2,307 
$226,500 
 $51.97 
 1,431 
 809 
$88,600 
 2,225 
 4,549 
 2,388 
$279,200 
 $61.38 
 1,119 
 635 
$79,500 
Importsforconsumption35                     K2Oequivalent               
          Customsvalue                            
 5,689 
 3,445 
$267,200 
 6,875 
 4,168 
$344,000 
 7,608 
 4,605 
$374,000 
 7,762 
 4,707 
$399,000 
 8,505 
 5,165 
$520,800 
Apparent consumption6                       K2Oequivalent               
Yearend producers' stocks, 
7,867 
4,638 
9,544 
5,578 
10,352 
5,992 
10,689 
6,205 
11,935 
6,918 
 K2Oequivalent                           World production, 
562 
471 
467 
414 
251 
marketable K20 equivalent                      
24,738 
24,386 
25,801 
26,000 
26,345 
 1lncludes muriate and sulfate of potash, potassium magnesium sulfate, and
some parent salts. Excludes other chemical compounds containing potassium.
 2F.o.b. mine. 
 3Excludes potassium chemicals and mixed fertilizers. 
 4F.a.s. U.S. port. 
 5lncludes nitrate of potash. 
 6Measured by sales plus imports minus exports. 


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