Russia: Acron Expands Nitrogen Capacities

Acron, a leading Russian and global mineral fertilizer producer, will spend US$400 million by 2015 to build an ammonia plant with a 700,000 tpa capacity at its main production site in Velikiy Novgorod after opening on March 31 a US$95 million urea factory that can process 335,000 tons, boosting capacity almost 75 percent. Acron, which is controlled by Russian billionaire Viatcheslav Kantor, has a diversified product portfolio consisting of multi-nutrient fertilizers such as NPK and bulk blends, and straight nitrogen-based products such as urea, ammonium nitrate and UAN.
Acron has three production facilities – Acron (Veliky Novgorod, Russia), Dorogobuzh (Smolensk Region, Russia) and Hongri Acron (Shandong Province, China). Acron’s logistics and transportation capabilities include its own fleet of railway cars and three sea port trans-shipment facilities on the Baltic Sea – at the Kaliningrad port of Russia, at the Estonian Sillamäe port and at the Estonian Muuga port. The Group operates distribution networks in Russia and China.
Acron plans to enhance its vertical integration and secure supplies of phosphate and potash inputs through the development of its own mineral resource base. The Group owns licences to develop two apatite-nepheline ore deposits in the Murmansk region and a potassium-magnesium salts deposit in the Perm region (both located in Russia).

Bangladesh: New Urea Capacities

At present there are in Bangladesh six factories but most of them are old and their production capacity has fallen. But recently the authorities have disclosed that the government had taken initiatives to set up three more fertilizer factories to meet the growing demand for the agriculture input. The country spends a huge amount of foreign currencies to pay for the 1.5-2.0 million tonnes of fertilizers that are imported yearly to meet the demand.
Once completed, the Shahjalal Fertiliser Factory in north-eastern Bangladesh, will be able to reduce the import of around 0.6 million tonnes of urea a year. The production target for the Shahjalal Fertiliser Factory was fixed at 581,000 tonnes a year to meet the growing demand for urea fertilizer. The complex will be built adjacent to the existing Natural Gas Fertilizer Factory and comprise units designed to produce 1,000 mt/day of ammonia and 1,760 mt/day of urea. It will be built by China Chengda Engineering Co. (Chengda) and China National Import & Export Corp. (Complant). KBR will provide its ammonia technology, and Stamicarbon, a subsidiary of Maire Tecnimont, will supply its Urea2000Plus technology and services for the urea plant. The urea granulation unit will be based on Stamicarbon’s fluid-bed granulation technology. Start-up is due in 2015. Chengda is providing basic and detailed engineering and procurement; Complant is responsibile for construction and commissioning. The construction work will be completed by the next 38 months. We lack information about the other factories.

Morocco: OCP to Double Phosphate Production by 2020

The world’s largest exporter of phosphate and derivatives, the OCP Group, expects to double its production capacities, from 28 million tonnes to 55 million, tripling the production of fertilizers, from 36 to 100 million tonnes, a plan launched in 2010 that should be completed by 2020.
The program, which will require an overall investment more than 10.3 billion euros, consists of various projects along the value chain and should be 65 percent completed by 2015. The doubling of phosphate mining concerns the Khouribga site in particular, where the Lahrach Merah cleaning facility was inaugurated, which cost some 225 million euros, with an annual capacity of 7.2 million tonnes .
Other sites are already open in the region and along the axis towards the industrial complex of Jorf Lasfar, such as the El Halassa mine, with an annual capacity of 6.7 million tonnes.
The work, with a budget of about 486 million euros, should allow the start of exploitation of the site – which will feature a washing plant, the largest in the world according to the group, which can treat 12 million tonnes a year – from 2013. It is expected to generate 880 jobs. OCP maintains that the technology used for extracting and innovations stemming from research and development of the group, will improve returns: the rate of recovery will be pushed to 7.5 tonnes per sqm, against the current 4.3.
The mines will be connected directly to a conveyor belt, the first 120 km of 235 km of which has already been built, which will take the phosphate to the complex of Jorf Lasfar, where four new factories will be built that will produce a total of 3.7 million tonnes of phosphoric acid and fertilizers.
With this transport system, which will be operational from 2013, OCP expects to reduce the group’s overall CO2 by a third to 90 million tonnes.
OCP it the largest global phosphoric acid maker and accounts for some 35% of the world phosrock exports and 13% of the DAP/MAP exports. It has some 18,000 employees and account for about a quarter of the gross domestic product of Morocco. OCP and Saudi Arabia’s Ma’aden are expected to capture most of the growth in global demand for phosphate imports over the medium term.

Russia: Uralkali Developing Potash Capacities

The expansion and modernization of the existing Berezniki-based OAO Uralkali production facilities will add 4.5 million tonnes of potassium chloride (KCl) per annum. The Ust-Yayvinsky and Polovodovsky projects include the construction of two new mines which, when they reach full capacity, will increase Uralkali’s potash production by 5.3 million tonnes of KCl per annum. The launch of new projects will make up for the gradually depleting ore reserves of the Berezniki-2 mine as well as increase potash production capacity.

In 2004, Uralkali, won the tender for the development of the Ust-Yayvinsky block and obtained a mining licence. The reserves of the block comprise approximately 1.3 bln tonnes of sylvinite ore, which will provide 30-35 years of the mine’s steady operation. In December 2011, Uralkali concluded a contract with “Deilmann Haniel Schachtostroi” for construction of the shafts for the Ust-Yayvinsky mine. The contract provides for the development of working documentation, construction of temporary facilities of the surface heading equipment, shafts sinking and infrastructure development. Last March, the company, which is Russia’s second largest producer of MOP and SOP, announced it had started preparatory works for mine construction within the framework of the Ust-Yayvinsky block development project at the Verkhnekamskoye deposit. The construction of the buildings and facilities for shaft sinking has started on the construction site. The construction of an electric power substation, which will supply electric energy to the industrial site, continues, as well as the construction of a diversion facility with water-pumping stations and water-storage tanks.

The construction of the surface complex at the Ust-Yayvinsky block will begin in 2015 and they expect to produce its first ore in 2020. It has been described as one of the largest and the most ambitious projects in the global potash industry. The mine will have two shafts – a 530-metre deep shaft with skip winding (for hoisting the ore) and a shaft with cage winding (for hoisting and descending workers and loads). The mined ore will be processed at the Berezniki-3 plant, where it will be transported by a 6.3 km long cable-belt conveyer. The geological characteristics of the deposit, such as shallow ore occurrence, ensure the relatively low level of capital costs. In mid-2011 the merger between Uralkali and Silvinit was completed and the company is Russia’s biggest fertilizer maker by market value. Uralkali assets consist of 5 mines and 8 ore-treatment mills situated in the towns of Berezniki and Solikamsk (Perm Territory, Russia) and they account for about a fifth of the global potash output.

Saudi Arabia: Phosphate Expansion

The Saudi state-controlled company Saudi Arabian Mining Co., known as Ma’aden, obtained government approval to proceed with a $7 billion phosphate project in the country’s north.

Riyadh-based Maaden will build ten plants with an annual production capacity for 16 million tonnes of basic and downstream products, which include phosphoric acid, sulphuric acid, animal feeds like monocalcium phosphate and dicalcium phosphate. The Saudi Ministry of Petroleum & Mineral Resources has allocated the fuel required for the project.

The Saudi Arabian Railway Co. and the Public Investment Fund will build a railway line linking the zone to the rail network.

Belgium: Tessenderlo Developed New Potassium Sulphate Formulation

Brussels based Tessenderlo Chemie NV, the world’s second-biggest maker of potash sulphate, has developed a formulation that dissolves three times faster than other potassium sulphate-based products. Introduced by Solufeed, K-Leaf uses it a soluble foliar feed of potassium and sulphur for top fruit and other crops. Tests in several countries have shown significant yield increases from the spray.

Norway: Yara NPK expansion at Porsgrunn

Oslo-based Yara International, is planning a 300,000 tons NPK capacity expansion at its Porsgrunn plant in Norway. The project is in its initial phase and is expected to achieve some volumes already in 2013, with full effect expected towards the end of 2014. Yara is owned 36.2% by the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Norway.

South Africa: Environmental problems of Foskor’s phosphogypsum waste

The majority owned by the state-owned Industrial Development Corporation, Foskor phosphoric acid and fertilizer maker has some environmental problems.

In the 2011, a site inspection undertaken by the Department of Water Affairs, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development, as well as Foskor personnel revealed that the Foskor outlet pipe was discharging contaminated water into the pan. Water sample results further indicated non-compliance with all parameters required by the National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998).

The factory has been pumping millions of tonnes of phosphogypsum (PG) and other waste into the sea off Richards Bay for nearly 35 years. It also has a large land dump that holds about 15 million tonnes of phosphogypsum. The company is trying to find a joint venture partner to turn the waste into cheap gypsum boards, cement and panels to build low-cost homes. The problem to tackle is that the waste contains radioactive materials such as uranium and thorium.

Large volumes of phosphogypsum have been generated in several parts of the planet and the phosphates industry has promoted using this waste as building or roadfill material or fertilizer. PG is produced when rock phosphate is treated with sulphuric acid. For every tonne of phosacid produced, the industry generates five tonnes of phosphogypsum, a radioactive material the U.S. Environmental Agency considers hazardous waste. The US Environmental Protection Agency banned the reuse of the waste in 1989. The ruling was relaxed in 1992 to allow its use as a fertilizer, but only if the level of radiation was lower than 10 picocuries to a gram. The latest report of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) notes that the toxicity of Foskor gypsum and fluoride effluent exceeds the original pipeline dilution specifications. Several CSIR studies have flagged Foskor waste as a problem, and the company has acknowledged that dumping large volumes of phosphogypsum in the sea is “not environmentally sustainable”.