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Page added on April 26, 2011

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Scarcity of Phosphorus: Looming Threat to Food Production


In Feb., 2011, two Australian experts in global phosphorus said that instability in the Middle East and North Africa could threaten food security in the world because the region boasts high proportion of global phosphate rock reserves. Instability is really a component in a looming supply-demand gap in global phosphorus resources. It is predicted that it will be much sooner than the time when all the reserves have been depleted.

At present, the proven reserves of phosphorus resources in China ranks the second with total volume of 17.86 billion tonnes. Though Chinese phosphorus ore is abundant, it is not rich. The high-grade phosphorus ores reserves is only 1.108 billion tonnes, accounting for 17% of its total phosphorus reserves. The capacity of yellow phosphorus is about 1.9 million tonnes, ranking the first in the world.

The growing strong demand for phosphate fertilizer in both domestic and overseas drives the increase of the price of phosphorus resources. The phosphorus ore in Yunnan has risen by about USD10/t. Vietnam has begun to impose tax on export yellow phosphorus and increased the exporting tax on phosphorus ore to 15%. All of these are set to put pressure on the global supply of phosphorus ore.

It is calculated that the demand for phosphorus map outpace the supply before 2035. As for the gap between supply and demand, some advocates to improve the efficiency of use, as much of the phosphate resource is wasted between the mine and the dinner plate.

As the important global security and sustainability issue, CCM discusses the supply in its report, Global Supply of Phosphorus Ore Resource. The report presents the overview of phosphorus ore globally from the aspects of global reserves and exploitation, international trade and related policies. For more detailed information of the global supply of phosphorus ore, please turn to CCM’s report.


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