The bid made by BHP Billiton for Potash Corp. has put mergers and acquisitions back on the mining agenda. The fertilizer industry is set for substantial growth in the coming years and the mining giants around the world are making deals to benefit from this expected boom.
Besides BHP Billiton other companies such as Vale and Rio Tinto have also expectations to venture into the fertilizer market. The world food demand is expected to rise constantly as the population grows and the fertilizers are going to be constantly in demand.
Potash Corp is considered the top global fertilizer company with substantial holdings in the production of potash, phosphate and nitrogen. These are the three main ingredients needed to manufacture fertilizers used globally. This company is one of a small group of companies which is making fertilizer production its speciality.
With potash prices rising to nearly US $1,000 a tonne two years ago Potash Corp. has become a top traded public company in Canada. Other companies being sought eagerly by international giants looking for growth opportunities will be Mosaic Co and Intrepid Potash Inc.
Potash is the common name for potassium carbonate and various mined and manufactured salts that contain the element potassium in water-soluble form. In some rare cases, potash can be formed with traces of organic materials such as plant remains. Potassium is the seventh most abundant element in the Earth's crust, and is the third major plant and crop nutrient after nitrogen and phosphate. About 93% of world potash consumption is used in fertilizers, with small amounts used in manufacturing soaps, glass, ceramics, chemical dyes, drugs, synthetic rubber, de-icing agents, water softeners and explosives.