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Russia and Belarus in talks to boost potash exports: report

Russia and Belarus are in talks regarding joint initiatives to sell potash through Belarusian Potash Company (BPC), reported BEATA.

“We seek to expand our presence on both traditional and new, promising markets of mineral fertilizers. It will be easier for us to promote our interests if we team up with Russians,” Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was quoted as saying.

Through the imminent agreement Russia would finance 50% of BCP operations, a welcome injection of capital for Belarus, a landlocked country of 9.5m people that has become increasingly isolated since Lukashenko’s violent crackdown on the opposition.

The leader’s action followed a flawed presidential election in 2010 that restored the president into power and triggered ongoing sanctions from the European Union and the US against regime supporters that have spooked potential investors.

Potash production is in the hands of only a few global players, North America’s Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (TSE:POT), Mosaic (NYSE:MOS) and Agrium (NYSE:AGU) represented by Canpotex and the Russian and Belarus giants Uralkali and Belaruskali.

According to Scotiabank global demand for potash is between 50–60 million tonnes per year and the established players fear new potash mines in Russia and Canada will overwhelm demand.