The Tunisian Indian Fertilisers Company Limited’s (TIFERT’s) expects that commercial shipments should start by September from their plant located in La Skhira, Tunisia.
The plant which was originally expected to be commissioned by the first quarter of 2011 got delayed mainly due to the social-political shake-up in Tunisia last year. The delay caused a loss of some USD 30 million.
TIFERT is a joint venture of India’s Gujarat State Fertilizers & Chemicals (GSFC), the Groupe Chimique Tunisien (GCT), and the Compagnie des Phosphates de Gafsa (CPG), both Tunisian companies and Coromandel Fertilisers Ltd (CFL, which belongs to the Murugappa Group). The joint venture company, Tunisian Indian Fertilizers (TIFERT) is planned to produce 360,000 tonnes P2O5 of phosphoric acid per annum and the production will be divided 50% between CFL and GSFC. This will help GSFC, one of India’s West Coast largest fertilizer makers, to run their DAP plant at full capacity.
The phosphate industry accounts for more than 2.6% of GDP in Tunisia and phosphate exports in Tunisia represented 7% of the USD 9.1 billion total Tunisian exports in 2004. Tunisian main phosphate mines are located in the Qafsah area to the south.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates Tunisian phosphate rock reserves in 100 million tonnes. Tunisia is the fifth global rock producer (after China, USA, Morocco and Russia) and most of the output is used domestically for downstream manufacturing.