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There are numerous investors, companies, and even countries speculating in “Peak Oil”, but there could be an even bigger shortage looming. What could possibly be as important as the world’s energy supply? A very interesting article in Foreign Policy magazine presents the case for “Peak Phosphorous”, an element on which the global food supply could depend. To quote the authors:

The geographic concentration of phosphate mines also threatens to usher in an era of intense resource competition. Nearly 90 percent of the world's estimated phosphorus reserves are found in five countries: Morocco, China, South Africa, Jordan, and the United States. In comparison, the 12 countries that make up the OPEC cartel control only 75 percent of the world's oil reserves.

While there is ongoing debate on the merits and drawbacks of the industrial monoculture farming that fertilizers are enabling, we will add phosphorous to the growing list of strategic materials we should track because of the opportunities they offer. Other materials already on the list include some rare earths, such as Yttrium, which used in LEDs and superconductors. And let us not forget about lithium, another strategic material used in batteries, which we have discussed as part of coverage of storage companies involved with the electrification of personal transportation.

It is always better to invest in something rare than in something plentiful. As these key materials become scarcer, their value, and the value of companies involved in their mining and processing will continue to rise. One of the largest phosphate producers in the world is Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Inc. (POT).

Disclosure: No positions

Source: The World Is Running Out of Stuff