Ag leader says phosphate, potash should be on Critical Minerals list

An agriculture leader says phosphate and potash need to be added to the U.S. Critical Minerals List.

Corey Rosenbusch is President and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute.  He told the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Tuesday the U.S. Geological Survey requires critical minerals to be essential to the economic or national security of the U.S. and have supply chain vulnerabilities. “In 2022, both minerals were left off the list. We must note that in 2022, that list was released two days prior to Russia invading Ukraine.”

Rosenbusch told a House Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Tuesday geopolitical events and supply chain disruptions spiked fertilizer prices up to 300 percent because most of it comes from overseas. “The U.S. only accounts for about seven percent of global fertilizer production and we are a net importer of fertilizer. As a matter of fact, over 90% of all fertilizers are actually used outside of the United States, making U.S. farmers even more vulnerable to supply shocks.”

Rosenbusch says there are only 11 phosphate-producing countries in the world with China supplying 42% of the world’s production.  He says Belarus and Russia represent about 40% of potash production. “When we think about where that product is coming from, when we think about China’s control over phosphates, it really does create a global dynamic of supply and demand that could put the U.S. farmer at risk.”

The subcommittee is considering three bills that would include critical materials in the Critical Minerals List, recognize the importance of critical minerals in health care, and push for phosphate and potash to be listed as critical minerals in the U.S.

They are:

  • H.R. 6395 (Rep. Curtis), “Recognizing the Importance of Critical Minerals in Healthcare Act of 2023”; 
  • H.R. 8446 (Rep. Ciscomani), To amend the Energy Act of 2020 to include critical materials in the definition of critical mineral, and for other purposes; and
  • H.R. 8450 (Rep. Cammack)“Phosphate and Potash Protection Act of 2024”.

Not everyone testifying at the hearing supported the legislation.  Dr. Roopali Phadke from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota is concerned about mining and says many potential mining sites are on the land of indigenous people.  She also urged House members to invest in more recycling of electronic devices to recover metals and minerals. 

University of Arizona School of Mining and Mineral Resources Director Misael Cabrera testified that modern mining methods are highly regulated, cleaner, more advanced and cause less environmental harm than the mining of the past.

The Fertilizer Institute is the trade association representing fertilizer manufacturers, retailers, and distributors.

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