China Hunts for Domestic Potash Reserves

China is the world's second-biggest potash importer.

China plans to spend nearly $15 million a year until 2015 to look for potash reserves at home, state media said on Oct. 8, as Sinochem reportedly struggles to mount a bid for Canada's Potash Corp.

The 100-million-yuan a year initiative will address the "severe situation" posed by tight potash supplies and the "monopoly" on the global market, the China Daily reported, citing unnamed sources with the state-run China Geological Survey.

China's Ministry of Land and Resources invested 50 million yuan this year to hunt for the mineral, which is used to make fertilizer. The country is the world's second-biggest potash importer.

China's state-owned Sinochem Group is reportedly struggling to mount a rival offer to thwart Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton's hostile $40 billion takeover bid for Potash, the world's biggest maker of fertilizer.

Sinochem -- China's top fertilizer maker -- is having trouble finding a partner after talks broke down with Russian fertilizer group UralKali, the Financial Times reported in late September. Sinochem did not have sufficient funds to make the bid on its own, and would need to team up with another firm, reports have said.

Canadian authorities on Pct. 4 extended their review of BHP Billiton's takeover offer for Potash by 30 days.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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