Potash is a naturally occurring, water soluble crop nutrient that is crucial to agriculture worldwide.
It comes from mineral deposits 1,000 meters below the earth’s surface, formed millions of years ago by the evaporation of seas. Potash comes in a variety of colours, sizes and grades.
Where does it come from?
All the potash shipped from Neptune comes from one of 10 different mines in Saskatchewan. In fact, Saskatchewan is the world’s largest producer of potash, responsible for about one quarter of global supply.
What are the biggest markets for potash exports?
While potash is particularly important to nations with large and growing populations to feed, such as Brazil, China, India and Indonesia, it is imported by more than 100 countries worldwide.
What is it used for?
90-95% of potash is used in agriculture as fertilizer, for crops like rice, corn, sugar cane, coffee, palm oil, soybeans, bananas, potatoes, and many other fruits and vegetables. It can either be applied directly in the granular form in which it is shipped or blended with nitrogen and phosphate.
Commercial fertilizers, including those that you might buy to help your flowers or vegetables grow at home, typically contain three nutrients that help plants to grow in different, yet important, ways:
- Potassium (from potash) is a nutrient that improves the plant’s overall health
- Nitrogen helps a plant’s leaves grow
- Phosphorus supports a plant’s root growth and flower and fruit development
What else is potash used for, besides fertilizers?
5-10% of potash is used for industrial purposes - mostly the manufacturing of potassium hydroxide (KOH). KOH is used to make other potassium chemicals for a wide variety of industrial processes such as glass making, pharmaceuticals, food processing and textile manufacturing.
Is it true that potash can be used as a road de-icer?
Potash can also be used as road de-icer, where conditions permit. Although the melting power of potash is not as great as salt, potash is gaining acceptance as an environmentally friendly alternative.
Why is potash stored under cover?
Potash is water soluble, so it can’t get wet. That means we store it under cover in large sheds, that all our potash conveyors are covered, and that we generally can’t load it onto ships when it is raining.
How is potash moved around Neptune’s facilities?
Potash railcars are moved around our site using ultra low-emission, low-noise N-Viro Locomotives, which help us reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.