Published: September 1966
Potassium (K), often referred to as potash (K2O), is one of three fertilizer elements necessary for healthy plant growth.
This report compares the technology and economics of flotation and crystallization processes for refining potassium chloride (muriate of potash), the generally used 6% KaO fertilizer. A location on the vast high grade ore body being developed in Saskatchewan, Canada, has been assumed. An estimated cost for shaft-mined potassium chloride ore is used for both processes.
Investment and production costs have also been calculated for plants to manufacture potassium sulphate, potassium nitrate, and potassium metaphosphate fertilizers. These materials offer advantages in handling, transportation, or application relative to potassium chloride. The raw materials in each instance are the appropriate acid and refined potassium chloride (60% K,O equivalent) shipped from Carlsbad, New Mexico, to a Gulf Coast location. Various other processes or variations are mentioned, and interest in any one of them is likely to be determined by the type and availability of raw materials and markets in a specific situation. Processes to produce potassium sulphate from gypsum or from sulphur, with chlorine as a by-product, appear interesting, but available information is insufficient to yield useful evaluations.