Achieving Phosphorus Self-Sufficiency in Canada: A Step-by-Step Guide

Making Canada self-sufficient in phosphorus

“Fertilizer – the cornerstone of modern agriculture. When we think of fertilizers, nitrogen usually steals the spotlight for its role in cereal and corn production. But let’s not forget about phosphate, another vital fertilizer for Canada’s agri-food sector. Geopolitical concerns and reliance on international sources have raised costs and worries about phosphate supply. So, why should we care? The demand for increased crop production puts pressure on domestic consumption and global food supply. This makes finding domestic sources of phosphate crucial for both self-sufficiency and food security.

A History of Reliance and Disruption:
Canada has historically depended on phosphate imports from countries like the U.S., Russia, and Morocco. Advocates like Stephen Case are pushing for the development of the Martison Phosphate Project in northeastern Hearst to reduce this reliance. In the early 2000s, Canada sourced its own phosphate, mainly from Redwater, Alberta. But with industry changes, the country now heavily relies on imports, especially from the U.S.

The Quest for a Solution:
Stephen Case proposes a two-pronged approach to address the phosphate dilemma. Firstly, he suggests getting phosphate on the 2024 Critical Mineral List to support projects like Martison. This move can unlock funding, tax credits, and government assistance to expedite development. Moreover, utilizing Indigenous participation in these projects can boost infrastructure support. The Martison Project offers high-quality phosphate from igneous rock, minimizing cadmium levels and potential trade issues.

Competition from EVs:
While the focus on lithium iron phosphate batteries for electric vehicles is growing, Case warns of potential competition between the electric vehicle market and the food and fertilizer industries. The upcoming demand for phosphate in both sectors could lead to price hikes and scarcity. It’s essential to prioritize food security and agricultural sustainability amidst these evolving market dynamics.

In a world where agricultural sustainability and food security are paramount, the quest for a stable and self-reliant phosphate source is more than just an economic pursuit. It’s about securing our future food supply and safeguarding the resilience of our agricultural sector against external disruptions.”



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