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Potash

What Is Potash

Potash is a salt that contains potassium compounds in a water-soluble form. Potassium occurs abundantly in nature and is the 7th most common element in the earth’s crust. Potash can be found in clay minerals, sea water and even rain.

According to the Potash Development Association:

“An adult human requires around 2grams/day of potassium and typical intakes are 2.8-4.5 grams/day. Not surprisingly therefore there are no health risks associated with this element. Milk, fruit juice, root vegetables and crops such as bananas are rich sources of this nutrient in the human diet.”

What Is Potash Used For?

Potash is mostly used for fertilizer but other applications include:
  • Usage in aluminium recycling
  • Electroplating
  • Oil-well drilling fluid
  • Snow and ice melting
  • Steel heat-treating
  • Water softening
  • Water treatment
  • Soap manufacturing
  • Animal feed supplements
  • Cement
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Food products
  • Photographic chemicals
  • Textiles
  • Beer brewing
  • Pharmaceutical preparations
  • Catalyst for rubber manufacturing
  • Baking aid

Producers of Potash

North American Potash Developments Inc cites:

Currently, potash is produced in only 12 countries, while more than 150 countries utilising it. The main producing countries include Canada, Belarus, Russia and Israel. At this time Saskatchewan, Canada, is the largest potash producing region in the world, accounting for almost a quarter of world production. The United States also produces potash, about 1,200,000 tonnes a year, but consumes 5,200,000 tonnes, to make it one of the largest net importers of potash in the world.

Conclusion

Potash is a group of potassium bearing minerals, the most common being potassium chloride and is mined from naturally occurring ore deposits. It is mostly used in fertilizers but has other uses including electroplating, water treatments and for brewing beer. Canada is the largest producer of potash.


If you would like to learn more about minerals and mining visit our Mining and Metals page.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

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