Fertilizer producers pursue deep sea phosphate reserves

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With a growing demand for phosphate fertilizer rising around the globe to meet world food needs, finding new sources of phosphate will become crucial. One method that is being explored now is mining deep sea phosphate reserves.

The resource industry is familiar with deep sea and offshore mining, including oil and gas. Recently, precious and base metals are being mined offshore.

Marine phosphates are usually found within the first 1,000 meters of the marine zone. Although the world has been aware of marine phosphates, until now few offshore mining has begun. However, several projects are in operation and the most advanced project is off the coast of Namibia.

Another active project is near New Zealand. Chatham Rock Phosphate Ltd. has secured funding for a 2012 work program. A U.S. investment group has even bought 11.4 million shares of Chatham. However, the company still has to overcome barriers to raising cash overseas and selling the New Zealand government on a relatively untested phosphate mining process near important fishing grounds.

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