Peter & The Wolf

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"A new bill will be brought before parliament this year mandating, for the first time, measures and targets to preserve and improve the health of the UK’s soils, amid growing concern that we are sleepwalking into a crisis of soil fertility that could destroy our ability to feed ourselves..."

Last week it was reported that one of the world largest potash producers in Belarus had sufferred a mine collapse: Two workers were in the mine during the incident, according to Bloomberg.  News of their wellbeing has yet to unfold.

Some background noise:

Meanwhile the 'Department of the Interior' highlights the strength of the potash commodities market in wider political terms:

"A POLITICO review of more FARA records shows that nations like Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Belarus — some of which face frequent criticism over their human rights records — have vastly ramped up their spending in recent years into the six- and seven-figure range as they’ve sought to safeguard energy relationships or boost military ties with the United States.

When Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) introduced legislation in July 2015 that would have slapped sanctions on Belaruskali, a potash producer in the former Soviet republic of Belarus, the company wasted little time in securing Washington representation, signing a contract with Greenberg Traurig LLP within two weeks, according to FARA files. That kind of reaction is typical, say lobbying sources, particularly when it comes to officials from more autocratic governments where the legislative process is little more than a rubber stamp.

“What happens is that when they read someone has said something, they kind of look at it and say, ‘Wow, this is really going to happen. This is now the law.’ Because in their country, when people say something, this is a done deal,” said the former lawmaker who has worked with foreign entities.  The company had formerly been under the umbrella of a state-owned firm called Belneftekhim that was controlled by autocratic President Alexander Lukashenko — the country’s only leader since the Berlin Wall fell and Belarus became independent. The firm, which accounted for 35 percent of exports in a country that accounted for nearly one-fifth of the world’s potash trade, was sanctioned by the U.S. government after a flawed 2006 election that saw Lukashenko stay in power amid widespread reports of human rights violations.

When Belaruskali split off from the umbrella company, the New Mexico delegation and others in Washington warned that it was simply a ploy to evade sanctions. The Pearce bill would also have benefited his home-state potash industry, which accounted for 75 percent of U.S. production in 2012, according to the Department of Interior."

Chews wisely ... politics & potash?  Boring innit :  In October 2017 'Babiš led his new party ANO – “ano” is Czech for “yes” – to a resounding poll victory, winning almost 30% of the vote.'

Meanwhile of interest to some :

"Johanan Locker, ICL Chairman, stated: "ICL's strategy is based on two key foundations: the first is our mineral business, and the second - advanced agricultural solutions. The next generation of farmers will speak a new farming language, even though its aim will remain the same: increasing yields. High-tech has come to agriculture as well. That is the direction the world is going to, and ICL has a lot to offer, with its specialty fertilizers platform that encompasses a broad spectrum, from basic fertilizers to fertilizers that are high-tech level."   Locker added that the Company is taking steps to adapt itself to the changing realities and has declared its intention to invest tens of millions of dollars in the coming years in entrepreneurial initiatives, innovation and development of agricultural technologies: "We are examining cooperation with several strategic partners, establishment of innovation laboratories, as well as a broad spectrum of investment options, from investments in funds, to establishment of venture capital funds and to direct investment in startups."

"Autazes’ potash reserves - which are estimated at 87m tonnes of proven material, and 161m tonnes of probable material - actually constitutes only 10% of Brazil Potash’s permitted land, making the location’s potential lifespan some 200-300 years.  “We’re talking about a multi-generational mine,” adds Simpson. “We’re planning to break ground in the first quarter of 2019, and have production online by 2023.” Brazil Potash’s leadership team isn’t rushing to exploit the site’s full potential, however; instead opting to ramp up to 2.4m tonnes/year of granular potash output initially - all of which will be consumed by Brazil’s voracious domestic appetite for the crop nutrient."

It was later reported that the incident at Belaurskali did not impact on production.

"MINSK (Reuters) - Potash production at Belarusian miner Belaruskali, the world’s top exporter of the fertilizer ingredient, was unaffected after a mine accident late on Friday, deputy chief executive Anatoly Makhlai told Reuters. Two miners were missing after the accident at the Belaruskali mine, the Belarusian emergency ministry said in a statement on Saturday.  According to the statement, the accident involved a rock slide and a burst of methane. The rescue operation was continuing, the ministry said."

Sadly the fate of the two missing miners remains unreported.

Latest potah news was the entering into production by Eurochem:

"Potassium chloride, also known as Muriate of Potash or MOP, is the most commonly used potash fertilizer in agriculture.   Once fully operational, Usolskiy’s Phase 1 will have a total annual production capacity of 2.3 million metric tonnes of MOP. Eight continuous mining machines are working underground at Usolskiy, which is expected to employ about 2,000 people once production is fully underway.

Dmitry Strezhnev, EuroChem CEO, commented: “The test production of MOP means we have come closer to the start of regular production at Usolskiy, which has been a substantial and complex greenfield project. We are now focused on completing commissioning and ramping up to commercial production, targeting about 450,000 tonnes of finished product before the end of the year.”

EuroChem is mining sections of the Verkhnekamskoe potash deposit in the Perm region, one of the largest in the world. As well as the Usolskiy Potash project, EuroChem holds a licence to develop the Gremyachinskoe deposit in the Volgograd region of Russia, known as the VolgaKaliy potash project. Development at VolgaKaliy continues and first production of marketable product is expected later this year. To date, EuroChem has invested about $4.13 billion in the two projects, of which Usolskiy has accounted for $1.81 billion."

In a Polava...

"Soil is an almost magical substance, a living system that transforms the materials it encounters, making them available to plants..."

Ah, so ...

“The middle planet Wolf 1061c, is orbiting within the so-called ‘Goldilocks zone‘ — the habitable zone where it might be possible for liquid water and maybe even life to exist,.."


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Nervous About Outages

"The news, when it came late Friday night from a government ministry in Minsk, was grim: the ceiling of a potash mine in Belarus had collapsed more than half a kilometer underground, trapping two workers.

Halfway around the world, the reaction to the headlines was swift and dramatic. Shares of some of the largest potash producers soared in New York and Toronto on speculation that the accident could knock out a large chunk of global production capacity.

The March 9 episode vividly illustrates that after a decade of gluts, the industry is suddenly nervous again about supply shocks. Demand has been constantly increasing and any change in production from the world’s top suppliers in Canada, Belarus and Russia has the potential to impact the market dramatically, said Daniel Sherman, a senior analyst for Edward Jones in St. Louis.

“If a large mine in one of those suppliers is hit, it’s clearly going to put a dent in the supply,” Sherman said by telephone. “One of the key things is the supply is very concentrated"...

"State-owned Belaruskali is the world’s second-largest potash producer and is one of three companies, alongside with Russia’s Uralkali and North America’s Canpotex, that accounts for more than 60 percent of total output. The fertilizer ingredient is used to strengthen plant roots and boost drought resistance.

While Belaruskali insists there is no threat to production, the accident has shown how vulnerable the market is to disruptions at a time when demand is poised to rise: India and China are negotiating supply contracts, buyers are looking to purchase fertilizer ahead of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and Canadian producers recently idled 1 million metric tons of output...

"Miners in Belarus and Russia are running at full capacity and “could not produce more” if they tried in the short term, said Jonas Oxgaard, analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Any outages could allow for higher prices for Canpotex, a joint venture which markets sales outside of North America for Nutrien Ltd. and Mosaic Co.

"The removal of one of Belaruskali’s mines would take out about 2.5 million tons, or roughly 4 percent of global production... If there’s an upset, you’re going to have a shortage somewhere,”..

"A supply squeeze could help potash prices to recover after years of ample inventories. It could also mean a rebound for fertilizer equities...

"In Belarus last week, the roof of the potash mine tunnel crashed down, with methane being discharged, Belaruskali Chief Executive Officer Ivan Golovaty said in a statement on the company’s website. While “such phenomena do occur in our Starobin potash deposit,” it was the first time an incident of such scale happened without any prior warning signs, he said.

Sudden outbursts of salt and gas in Belaruskali mines are caused by geological structures which have gas in their nucleus, contained under enormous pressure. Workers had no chance to react and escape and two people were caught by the falling rock and died “in a fraction of a second,” according to the statement.

Belaruskali Deputy CEO Anatoly Makhlai said company production is now stable and shipping is normal.

“There is absolutely no threat of us stopping production at this mine,” Makhlai said by phone from Soligorsk. “The mine has several directions, and the incident affected only one mine tunnel in one of the several mine sectors. Idling it is out of question, everything is working.”..."


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"It seems common sense for a country to want to protect its industry by imposing a tax – known as a tariff or import duty – on imports competing with locally-produced goods. After all, we win and foreigners lose.The problem arises only if the foreigners retaliate and slap a tariff on our exporters. That's bad for us because it may lead to job losses among those of our workers who earn their living making goods for export..."

Ah,so ...

If She Only Will of 1684, which comprehensively sums up the tenets of mercantilism

  • That every little bit of a country's soil be utilized for agriculture, mining or manufacturing.
  • That all raw materials found in a country be used in domestic manufacture, since finished goods have a higher value than raw materials.
  • That a large, working population be encouraged.
  • That all export of gold and silver be prohibited and all domestic money be kept in circulation.
  • That all imports of foreign goods be discouraged as much as possible.
  • That where certain imports are indispensable they be obtained at first hand, in exchange for other domestic goods instead of gold and silver.
  • That as much as possible, imports be confined to raw materials that can be finished [in the home country].
  • That opportunities be constantly sought for selling a country's surplus manufactures to foreigners, so far as necessary, for gold and silver.
  • That no importation be allowed if such goods are sufficiently and suitably supplied at home.


"Money is just a means to an end, not an end in itself. The economic game is about producing goods and services so we can consume them. Production is the means; consumption is the end. Focus on one at the expense of the other and you've actually done badly in the game...

"Why wouldn't it be better to be 100 per cent self-sufficient? Because this would cost us the benefits from specialisation and exchange. Our domestic economy is organised on the basis that we're all better off if each of us specialises in producing what we're good at, then uses money to exchange what we've produced with what other specialists have produced.

Opening our economy to trade with other countries merely extends this principle, on which we've always run our domestic economy, beyond our borders.

This is why the mercantilists' assumption that trade is a zero-sum game – if you win, I lose – is wrong. Both sides win because both benefit from the "mutual gains from trade"...

"Trade wars are destructive not primarily because it's crazy for other countries to retaliate – which it is – but because the country that provokes the retaliation by protecting some favoured industries is damaging itself. Better to let it stew in its own juice than punish it by harming yourself."


“It’s so crazy and there is no way you can do anything. So I have become apolitical, I am Candide,” he said, referring to Voltaire’s naively optimistic hero. “I am going to be tending my garden, that’s what I am going to do."

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The Voltage & Stock

Step back in time:

One for the Butterfly Collection :

To Wooo, not Whack.

"But while he is unlikely to change who he is on a fundamental level, advisers said they saw a novice who was gradually learning that the presidency does not work that way. And he is coming to realize, they said, the need to woo, not whack, leaders of his own party to get things done."

'We can walk and chew gum at the same time'

"More friendships have been destroyed and more business relationships ended by the autocorrect than the bubonic plague..."


"With the arrival of the cellphone, and increased digital obligations, our generation’s chances of monotasking (for the greater glory of our work) have died. Once someone discovered you could text, drive, change the music in your car, scream at a pedestrian and recall the first lines of a sonnet simultaneously, multitasking had overtaken us. It became a sign of extreme manhood or super womanhood to be able to do half a dozen things at the same time.

Yet, periodically we are told that mono is better than multi when it comes to tasking. Some years ago, a Stanford University research team came to this conclusion. Then the Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that an interruption of even two seconds doubled the number of errors in a given task.

We monotaskers have only one thing on our minds. Let me stop writing while I try to recall what it is …"

Ah, so ... the Rope Trick.

"Average intelligence on Earth has come down by 10 points, says Mr. Mathrubootham ..."

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“We have done it before and we will do it again.”

“there were three main challenges which were not addressed in the last four years, education, health, agriculture and employment .

“And then the most severe indictment in the last four years, real agricultural GDP and real agricultural income as have remained stagnant,” he said.

“I want to ask the BJP, I want to ask the prime minister, if in four years you did not address the challenge of education or health or agriculture or employment, if in four years the farm sector has become relatively poorer, if in four years the average farmer has become relatively poorer, what have you been doing in the last four years? This is a question the prime minister must answer,” he said.

Mr. Chidambaram said that “the note ban was a big lie, there cannot be a greater lie than demonetisation”.

"Mr Gove ... "In December 2020, we will be negotiating fishing opportunities as a third country, an independent coastal state deciding who can access our waters and on what terms for the first time in over 40 years," he said.

"It's important that all of us, in every area, accept that the implementation period is a necessary step towards securing that prize.

"For our coastal communities it's an opportunity to revive economically, for our marine environment it is an opportunity to be managed sustainably and it's critical that all of us - in the interests of the whole nation - keep our eyes on that prize."

"In his speech in the Great Hall of the People, Mr Xi highlighted major achievements of Chinese history, like the invention of gunpowder and the writings of Confucius...

The pushing of Premier Li Keqiang to one side will not seem strange to China watchers, who have seen an already powerful Xi Jinping becoming virtually untouchable at this Congress.

"All acts and tricks to separate the country are doomed to fail and will be condemned by the people and punished by history."

“The Chinese people have understood since ancient times that nothing is free,” he said. “To be happy, one must fight for it.”

"China on Monday chose Lu Hao to run The Ministry of Natural Resources ... will replace the Ministry of Land & Resources, State Oceanic Administration (SOA) and the national surveying and mapping bureau. 

Li Ganjie, head of the Ministry for Environmental Protection (MEP), was elected to take over the reins of the new Ministry of Ecological Environment, which will absorb the MEP and take on duties overseeing river, marine and soil pollution as well as climate change held by other ministries and departments.

Han Changfu has been agriculture minister since 2009 and will head the new Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, which will oversee policy on agriculture, rural areas and its people."

"Tonny Xie from the Clean Air Alliance of China told Reuters the move would enable better co-ordination between "air, water, soil and ecological protection" and was a "sign that China will continue investment to improve environmental quality"...

"The NPC saw the creation of an international aid agency, as China looks to extend its global influence...

"Now that it's become a superpower, the creation of this new agency reflects Mr Xi's ideology of taking on greater responsibility [in the world]."

The parliament also closed with a promise from Premier Li Keqiang that China was fully committed to keeping its doors open to international trade."

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The Human Touch?

"President Putin also expressed indignation over the disaster - though he did not speak to the crowd.

"What is happening here?" he said, after laying a wreath. "This is no battle or an unexpected methane outburst in a mine."

"People, children came to relax. We are talking about demography and are losing so many people because of what? Because of criminal negligence, sloppiness."

When in doubt: Evidence.

Founder and chief executive, **** will not give evidence to a British parliamentary inquiry into fake news but has asked a deputy to attend, the company has said.

A question about citizenship status will be added to the 2020 US census, for the first time since 1950.

The commerce department, which oversees the census, said it had added the question after a request from the justice department.

"she violated the agreement."

Hmmm ... to whom was he referring?

Blondes have more fun or collatoral damage?

Up Periscope.

Displacement or the Spectrum.