How K mining began

People started
using potash
compounds even before scientists
discovered potassium as a
separate element
and science
described its properties and explained
its role in our lives.
Since ancient times the ashes have
been used as fertiliser
and potassium carbonate
was mentioned as
a detergent in the
XI century.
Potassium as a
chemical element was discovered
only in the XIX century:
the English physicist and chemist
Humphry Davy extracted it from potassium
hydroxide (KOH) by electrolysis in 1807 and
named it potassium. In 1809 his German
counterpart Ludwig Wilhelm Gilbert suggested
the name “kalium” (from the Arabic word
“al-kali” – potassium carbonate). The original name
of the element is preserved in
the UK, USA, France and
some other countries, while Russia, Germany,
Austria and the Scandinavian
countries adopted
Gilbert’s name.
For a long time the main consumers of potash were manufacturers of glass, disinfectants and soaps. Only in 1840 Justus Liebig from Germany who was one of the founders of agricultural chemistry discovered that potash is crucial for plant nutrition while the majority of soils are poor in it. This caused a sharp rise in demand for potash fertiliser. Therefore, with the discovery of the first large potash deposit in Stassfurt (Germany) in 1856, its industrial mining began. Later potash deposits were discovered in Canada, Russia, Belarus and other countries.
Beginning of potash mining
1807 Potash discovery by
Humphry Davy
(United Kingdom)
1840 Discovering potash
as crucial plant
nutrition element
1856 Start of industrial
potash mining
1920-s Perm Region
1930-s Dead Sea
(Jordan, Israel)
1960 Saskatchewan
1970-s Salt Lake