When will reserves of phosphate rock run out?
The short answer is that ‘no one knows’. On the supply side, the remaining amount of commercially useable phosphate rock is unknown, with estimates fluctuating. The latest figures were issued in 2021, by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). These estimate that economically extractable phosphate rock reserves worldwide are 71 billion tons, while world mining production in 2020 was 223 million tons. Assuming zero growth, the reserves would thus last for 260 years.
On the demand side, much effort is now being focused on improving our ability to apply P most efficiently to crops, and to recycle P from waste streams. There is a good Wikipedia page on this topic, along with a number of IFS Proceedings.
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