The foundation of our research is the build-up of a global database containing all phosphate rock deposits. Based on this deposit databank, we construct a Cumulative Availability Curve (CAC) for phosphorus, considering economies of scale, mine capacity, operating costs, beneficiation, capital costs and transportation. This allows us to estimate the price dynamics in the long run. The CAC describes the mineral availability as a function of the price, with respect to permissible cost of production. Resources are added (cumulated) according to their production costs.
The other important point of view on phosphorus is the demand side. The demand for mineral fertilizer is increasing due to increasing population, increasing consumption of food per person, and dietary change. Identifying opportunities for efficiency gains in phosphate flows, as well as understanding risks, is essential for improving sustainability and resilience in the use of phosphorus.
In our research we are guided by three questions.
1. How much phosphate rock can phosphate deposits provide, where, and for how long?
2. How much phosphorus does humankind need and when?
3. How can we promote sustainability and supply security?