Saudi Arabia: MPC expects to begin commercial production this year, in the third quarter

According to official sources of the Ma’aden Phosphate Company the initial date for the launching of the phosphate production, originally envisaged by end of Q4 2010, has been moved to the Q2 2011 by which time the associated infrastructure and supporting utilities in Ras Az Zawr will be completed. The phosphate concentrate will be railed from the Ras Az Zawr plant (90 km north of Jubail) to be processed at the Al Jalameed beneficiation plant. Commercial production is planned to commence also this year, but in the Q3, and will have an output of some five million tpa of flotation concentrate on a dry basis.

The Phosphate project has been developed in a joint venture with SABIC , through a limited liability company, Ma’aden Phosphate Company, incorporated in Saudi Arabia. A Joint Venture Agreement was concluded on September 15, 2007 by Ma’aden and SABIC.

The first phase of the project, with a capacity of 2.9 million tpa, will have a major impact on the global market for phosphate-based fertilizers. It is estimated that they will produce approximately 3 million tpa of granular DAP, plus approximately 0.4 million tpa of excess ammonia. MPC began production of ammonia at the plant in last February. It is also anticipated that the phosphate project will generate approximately 0.2 million tpa of excess phosphoric acid for sales to the domestic market in Saudi Arabia.

The second phase will give the plant an export capacity of at least six million tonnes per year of DAP, or almost half the 12.2 mt produced globally in 2006. The company aims to take a 15-20% share of world market.

After production begins, half of it is expected to be shipped to India and the Saudi company will accordingly open an office in New Delhi.

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