CHALLENGES AND APPROACHES TO ASSESSING INDUSTRIAL MINERALS—THE USGS GLOBAL POTASH ASSESSMENT DATABASES
The database of potash deposits and occurrences contains more than 900 site records. This compilation of was a major part of our research effort and is based on collecting and translating well over 2,500 articles, books, and websites. The resulting potash database includes location, age, deposit geology, lithology, mineralogy, geologic setting, size and grade, and references.
Using the potash deposits and occurrences database and other geologic information compiled in the earlier stages of the potash assessment, tracts were delineated for more than 80 areas worldwide where undiscovered potash resources may occur. This study focused primarily on evaporite-hosted potash deposits; specifically stratabound potash-bearing salt and halokinetic potash-bearing salt deposits. Potash resources appear to be widely distributed, although potash does not occur in every salt-bearing basin. Fewer than half of the known salt basins have any reported potash based on this compilation of potash occurrences. Half of the potash-bearing salt basins may have any real potential for production of potash. Within the tracts delineated in this study, 40 may contain a potash deposit of sufficient size and grade to be of possible economic interest.
The databases developed for the GMRAP Potash Assessment have a continuing use beyond the assessment. In addition to demonstrating the widespread nature of potash mineralization, analysis of the compiled data could lead to a better understanding of potash deposits.