March 2021
Volume 73    Issue 3

A review on potash recovery from different rock and mineral sources

Jena, Sandeep Kumar


This paper reviews the recovery of potassium from different rocks and mineral sources. Global demand for potassium is rising steadily due to the growth of agricultural production. Fertilizer manufacture consumes the majority of the world’s potassium production, with other uses including those in the pharmaceutical, glass, ceramic, food and detergent industries. The availability of soluble potash (K2O) minerals, such as sylvite, kainite and carnalite, in countries like Canada, the United States, Israel and Russia makes them major potash producers, whereas agriculture-based countries like Liberia, Somalia, Central African Republic, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and India meet their potassium requirements through imports only. In these countries, the huge availability of potassium-bearing rocks/minerals like nepheline syenite, feldspar, mica and glauconitic sandstone, containing around 4 to 17 percent K2O, brings up the prospect of commercial production of potassium. Potassium recovery from minerals/rocks is complicated due to the uniform distribution of potassium throughout the crystal structure. Different physico-chemical separation methods like bioleaching, chemical leaching, flotation and roast-leaching have been discussed for the successful recovery of potash values from these rocks/minerals. Although seawater is vastly available, the recovery of potassium from seawater using chemical precipitation, solvent extraction, membrane separation and ion-exchange methods is not cost-effective due to low concentration of potassium.


Full-text paper:
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2021) 38:47–68,


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