"Although phosphate rock and potash are used as raw materials for a wide range of applications, the most important use by far is the manufacture of mineral fertilizers.

The primary source of these minerals is geological ore deposits formed through past sedimentary or igneous activities. In the case of potash, concentrated brines are also a significant source.

At present, most phosphate rock is mined using largescale surface methods. In the past, underground mining methods played a greater role, but their contribution to world production has declined.

Potash ore is extracted from two major ore deposit types, deeply buried marine evaporite deposits that typically range from 400 metres to greater than 1,000 metres below the surface, and surface brine deposits associated with saline water bodies such as the Dead Sea in the Middle East and the Great Salt Lake in North America."

Read U.N.'s paper on phosphate and potash mining, beneficiation and environment.