Are we running out of phosphorus?

Phosphorus is a resource that is vital for food production. I already touched on the subject recently, but I thought I might do a short writeup on the issue in a seperate article to explain the predicament with phosphorus that we’re in.

Are we running out of phosphorus

Current extraction and mining of phosphorus is enough to cover existing demand. Problems are set to happen in the future when declining extraction rates will need to cover ever increasing demand. Our increasing populations and what’s more important, our increasing demand for meat are what’s behind the increase in phosphorus consumption.

Since phosphorus isn’t possible to manufacture, and we aren’t really that good at phosphorus run-off capture, which is possible, all we have left as a phosphorus source are mines found in just a handful of countries like China, Morocco and United States. Graph above shows what scientists imagine the current phosphorus usage and demand are, and their projections for the future. Peak production, according to that graph, is only a couple of decades away. Others are saying that there are still centuries left. My bet is that the graph above is more closer to the truth. What do you think?