17 November 2010 07:42 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Despite earlier predictions, global reserves of phosphate rock for fertilizer production will not be depleted anytime soon, a scientist with the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) said on Wednesday.
The world’s reserves of phosphate rock were estimated at 60bn tonnes of concentrate, after a year-long study was conducted on key phosphate-producing countries using various sources, said Steven J Van Kauwenbergh, principal scientist and leader of IFDC’s phosphate research and resources initiative.
Kauwenbergh was speaking at the Fertilizer Outlook and Technology Conference, which runs on 16-18 November in Savannah, Georgia.
Since not all phosphate rock can be mined and used, the world’s total phosphate rock resource – including the unprocessed ore of the reserve estimates – was estimated by Kauwenbergh at 290bn tonnes.
In 1971, it was estimated that the world would deplete its phosphate rock resources over a period of 90 to 130 years, Kauwenbergh said.
However, he added that over the past 28 years, the world’s phosphate rock production had grown at less than 1% each year.
Phosphate production in the US had also been trending down in recent decades and could cease by 2030, Kauwenbergh said.
Meanwhile, the production of phosphate rock had increased rapidly in China and Morocco, he added.
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