John Garnaut at the SMH has a report on maneuvering around BHP's bid for Canadian potash producer Potash Corp (an interesting reverse play considering recent Canadian bids for Australian wheat farms) - Fertile ground for China.
If the Chinese were to outbid BHP Billiton for Potash Corp, Chinalco, Sinosteel or Minmetals might seem logical starters, but they don't have the inside running.
SPARE a thought for BHP Billiton's few remaining senior Shanghai executives who this week have to knock on those big Beijing ministry doors and pass on the message from Marius Kloppers that his domination of the world's fertiliser supply will be good for China.
Food is right up there next to steel when it comes to China's national insecurities. That's why China today still has a "red line" to demarcate a minimum area of arable land to preserve the nation's food self-sufficiency. That finite land will require ever-growing mountains of fertiliser to keep up with China's ever-growing appetite for grain-fed meat, and that probably means ever-growing imports of potash.