The global phosphate rock market size was estimated to be 226.68 million tons in 2016 driven primarily by the food demand associated with the growing population. Phosphate rock minerals are not only vital for animal and plant life cycle but are also crucial for all living organism to survive.
Global phosphate rock market, by application, 2016 (%)
The mineral is used extensively for manufacturing phosphate fertilizer and various other industrial chemicals for domestic use. They are also utilized in the engineering of detergents, phosphorous acid and industrial chemicals. Within industrial chemical, detergent was the largest application followed by phosphorous acid and other niche chemicals.
Potential of phosphate rock is measured on the basis phosphate pentoxide (P2O5) content. Higher the percentage of phosphate pentoxide (P2O5), greater is the plausibility of the mineral. Appropriate phosphorous content in soil is significant for the nutritional growth of crops. Phosphorous has no substitute at present owing to its unique properties including organic nature in the field of agriculture.
The global population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050 as per the estimation of United Nation (UN). In line with this growth, the production of food will have increase by 70% to feed the growing population. This factor is expected to result in an increase in the consumption of water and fertilizer which will eventually drive the phosphate rocks market over the forecast period.
Phosphate rock is the crucial part of daily life cycle. However, there are restraints related with consumption of phosphorous. Over-existence of phosphorous in water bodies drops the oxygen level which results in the death of aquatic bodies such as fish, dolphins, algae and floating weed resulting in underwater ecosystem imbalance.
The mineral is a non-renewable source, and hence an over consumption is expected to result in the depletion of deposits. However, organic products such as bone meal and greensand are expected to hamper the growth of the market by creating a more sustainable chain for fertilizer.
Segment by Application
• Feed & Food Additive
• Industrial Chemical
Fertilizer has been considered as the largest application of the mineral till date. The mineral makes the land more productive by enhancing soils nutrient absorbing ability. 89.9% of mined phosphate rock was utilized to manufacture NPK fertilizers in 2016. The market is likely to be influenced by the movement of the fertilizer market.
Monocalcium phosphate, which is a phosphorous based derivative, is easily digested by animals as compared to substitute feed ingredients. Furthermore, it also accelerates the weight of poultry and livestock by 5% to 10% hence making it more biological and economical in comparison with other types of feed.
Segment by Region
• North America
• Asia Pacific
• Central & South America
• Middle East & Africa
In 2016, Asia Pacific contributed to nearly 50% of the world’s total reserve abundantly present in countries such as China, India, Kazakhstan and Vietnam. China was the largest producer and consumer of the product in 2016. China reported a total production of 138 million tons in 2016, followed by Vietnam at 2.80 million tons.
Morocco and Western Sahara together contributed over 70% of the world’s phosphate rock reserves. Increasing agricultural practices in the Middle East and Africa is expected to boost the market in the region. Over the next few years, the market is likely to grow at a CAGR of 3.4% on account of government subsidies.
The global phosphate rock market is highly fragmented as there is no fixed price for the mineral. In addition, the market is not characterized by players holding a momentous share. The key players operating in the global market include MBAC Fertilizer, Potash Corp, Phosphate Resources Limited, Grange resources, Mosaic, WENGFU Group, Agrium, Shaw River Manganese, Anglo American, and Sterling Group Ventures Inc.
Research Support Specialist, USA