Global demand for phosphate rock is expected to witness a high growth over the forecast period owing to the growing consumption in the downstream sector mainly fertilizers and phosphoric acid. Fertilizers were the largest application segment of phosphate rock derivatives accounting for nearly half of the total phosphate production. Demand for phosphate rock is primarily driven by the high levels of consumption of phosphorous fertilizers in developing nations of Asia Pacific and Latin America. However, consumption of phosphorous fertilizers has been diminishing in developed nations including U.S and Europe owing to the increasing shift towards more eco-friendly fertilizers.
Global phosphate rock industry is expected to grow over the next six years owing to increasing demand from various end use industries where derivatives of phosphate rock such as phosphoric acid are used extensively. Detergents make up the second largest end use market for phosphates after fertilizers. Growing detergent & cleansing agents industry is expected to drive growth for phosphate rock market, particularly in developing countries such as China, India and Brazil. However, North America and Europe has banned the use of phosphate in laundry detergents, as the presence of phosphates in water can affect aquatic life by producing excess phosphorous which results in death of dolphins, fish and aquatic plants. Furthermore, Australia began phasing out phosphate from laundry detergents in 2011, with a complete ban on the product from 2014. These factors are expected to have adverse impacts on phosphate market growth. Moreover, fast depletion of phosphate rock reserves is also expected to hamper the market growth.
Majority of phosphate rock reserves are located in Morocco and Western Sahara. They constitute of more than half of the total global reserves. Other major holders of phosphate rock reserves include China, Russia, U.S, Middle East and South Africa. China dominated the world phosphate rock market in terms of volume in 2012. New exploration projects are being undertaken in China, U.S, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Brazil. Asia Pacific is expected to witness the fastest growth for phosphate rock derivatives owing to the rising demand from fertilizers and detergents industry in this region.
Key market participants in the production of phosphate rock includes Potash Corp, MBAC Fertilizer, Grange resources, Phosphate Resources Limited, Mosaic, WENGFU Group, Vale, Agrium, Anglo American, Shaw River Manganese and Sterling Group ventures Inc.
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