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A look at the mineral deposit's appeal amid a $38.6-billion (U.S.) hostile takeover bid of Canada's Potash Corp.

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This photo shows a carved out shaft in one of Potash Corp.'s Saskatchewan mines. Potash is mined from naturally occurring ore deposits, many of which are several thousand feet underground, that were formed by the evaporation of seas

The Canadian Press/Troy Fleece

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Potash Corp mill general superintendent Trevor Berg holds a handful of chicklet potash inside a potash holding facility at the Cory mine facilities near Saskatoon on August 19, 2010. Potash is one of three key global crop inputs, along with phosphate and nitrogen. Potash Corp. is the world?s largest producer of potash.

Reuters/David Stobbe

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Potash sources are very concentrated globally, which is part of what makes its potential so lucrative. Potash is only mined in 13 countries worldwide, and three quarters of the world?s potash exports come from Canada, Russia and Belarus. This photo shows Potash Corp.'s mine in Rocanville, Saskatchewan.

The Canadian Press/Troy Fleece

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A potash train en route to Vancouver. Canada holds 53 per cent of the world?s potash reserves, which stand at 400 times the mineral?s production level in 2008.

Canadian Pacific Railway handout

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Potash has seen wild changes in price over the past three years, ranging from $200 to $1,000. It was driven higher by food shortages, but pushed down during the recession as farmers moved to less expensive fertilizers. Potash prices are now rebounding, sitting around $375 as of 19 August, 2010. This photo shows mill manager Josh Wheeler examining a pile of processed potash at the Mosaic Potash mine storage facility in Colonsay, Saskatchewan.

Reuters/David Stobbe

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The mining industry has made significant entry into the fertilizer industry this year. In May, Vale annoucned that it spent $4.7-billion (U.S.) on a series of South American fertilizer assets. Earlier this year, BHP bought another Saskatchewan-based potash company, Athabasca Potash Inc, for $341-million. This photo shows the cutting face of a potash borer in a deep shaft at Potash Corp.'s Rocanville mine.

TROY FLEECE/The Canadian Press/Troy Fleece

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At stake is a key position in an expected global food revolution. As prices for wheat and corn rise, farmers are seeking to apply more fertilizer in the hunt for increasingly profitable crop yields. Last October, the UN declared that global food production would need to double by 2050 in order to feed the world?s booming population. In this photo, Indian farmers sprinkle fertilizer on their wheat crop in Ropar in the northern Indian state of Punjab.

Reuters/Dipak Kumar

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China and India are key growth markets for potash; currently, farmers in both countries only use half as much potash in their fertilizers as American farmers. In this photo, a farmer carrying fertilizer walks on a farmland on the outskirts of Anshun, in China's Guizhou province.

Reuters/China Daily

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