Phosphoric Acid Snapshot














Lithuania: Plans for food-grade phosacid production

EuroChem Group 100% owned company Lifosa plans to invest approximately 75 million euros in the production of food-grade phosphoric acid.

The Kedainiai headquartered company was founded in 1963 and deals with the production and wholesale of nitrogen-phosphorus fertilizers, feed phosphates, and aluminum fluoride.

Lifosa netted a profit of 61.617 million euros last year, up by 35.2% from 45.579 million euros in 2014. Its sales revenue rose by an annual 18.3% to 412.687 million euros.

New Israel-China phosphate j-v

Israel’s potash maker ICL has promoted a major step forward in the phosphate front. It is forming a j-v with the Chinese leading producer of phosphate rock and fertilizers Yunnan Yuntianhua by an investment of US$ 500 million. The Israelis will receive a 15% ownership of the Chinese company, which in 2013 had sales of 55.87 billion Chinese Renmimbi (US$ 9.02 billion). This was an increase of 465.1% versus 2012, when the company’s sales were 9.89 billion Chinese Renmimbi. The value of  the Yunnan company’s phosphate chain accounts for some three quarters of their total gross profit.

The new j-v company  will operate an integrated phosphate operation, based on an annual production of some 2.5 million tonnes of phosphate rock during the next 30 years, through the 100% ownership of the Haiko Phosphate Mines Assets. They will have a nameplate annual capacity of 700,000 tonnes of phosacid, 1.85 million tonnes of sulphuric acid, 60,000 tonnes of white phosphoric acid, 65,000 tonnes of speciality phosphates for the food and engineered materials market, and 850,000 tonnes of fertilizers. In this way, ICL will overcome her failure in developing the Barir phosphate field in Arad (Israel) due to environmental objections and secure for decades rock at a more competitive cost. ICL produced last year at its home base in the Negev 3.4 million tonnes rock, of which 946,000 were exported. Her main export market was India, where she sold 318,000 tonnes. Last year ICL also produced 576,000 tonnes of green phosphoric acid, 211,000 tonnes of white phosphoric acid, and 1.7 million tonnes fertilizers.

With the additional Yunnan phosphate capacities, ICL will be a more important mover in the phosphate scene, with some 6 million tonnes phosrock, 1,300 tonnes of phosacid, 350,000 tonnes of purified phosacid, 2.7 million tonnes of fertilizers and nearly 0.9 million tonnes of specialty fertilizers. The j-v will also give ICL new products like, for example, specialty water soluble MAP.

India: Aditya Birla Chemicals has bought a phosacid plant in South West India state of Karnataka

Aditya Birla Chemicals has bought the chlor-alkali and phosphoric acid division of Solaris Chemtech Industries for Rs 153 crore. The deal will help Aditya Birla Chemicals, a part of the Aditya Birla group, to enter the southern market and also add phosphoric acid to its product portfolio. Solaris Chemtech Industries has a 24,000-tonne-a-year phosphoric acid plant in Karwar, Karnataka, which produced 21,380 tonnes of phosphoric acid in 2012-13.

Founded in 2003, Solaris ChemTech, part of the $4 billion Avantha Group, is the largest producer of bromine and bromine chemicals and technical grade phosphoric acid. The company is a closely held unlisted company with its registered office in Delhi.

Aditya Birla Group’s chemical manufacturing firm ABCIL operates through four companies – Aditya Birla Nuvo, Grasim, Aditya Birla Chemicals (India) and Tanfac. During the year ended March of 2012, sales at Aditya Birla Chemicals were USD 107.62 million, which was an increase of 159% as compared to the previous year. This was the fifth consecutive year of sales increases at the company, whose sales have increased a total of 333% since 2007.

Phosphate Snapshot

Most of the phosphate output is used for fertilizer. Phosphorus plays a major energizer role of plant production, it is crucial to photosynthesis and reproduction and an aid to other yield-developing processes. Different crops require different quantities of phosphate fertilizer, for example a maize crop yielding 6–9 tonnes of grain per hectare requires some 31–50 kg of phosphate fertilizer to be applied, soybeans requires about 20–25 kg per hectare. Most natural and agricultural soils are phosphorus deficient.

Other important phosphate activities are the manufacture of feed products and industrial applications like detergents and cleaners, food and beverages, metal finishing, water treatment and toothpaste.


Phosphate fertilizer consumption is driven by the increasing needs of agricultural growth, which has to feed a global population which has increased by 130% from 1960 to 2011, the decreasing amount of available land, the growing need to produce animal feed, and the growing share of biofuels in the crops output. World consumption of P2O5 contained in fertilizers was projected to grow at a rate of 2-3% per year during the next 5 years, with the largest increases expected in Asia and South America.



China is the largest consumer and producer of phosphate fertilizers, it is the main factor shaping the phosphate market. India is the second global consumer. The Chinese are also the largest consumer of feed phosphates, accounting for 31 percent of global consumption. The USA and Brazil consume 9 percent and 12 percent of global feed phosphate respectively.

The global consumption of phosphate fertilizers was estimated to have been in 2012 of some 40.7 million tonnes P2O5, slightly less than the 41.3 millions consumed in 2011. This was mainly a result of lesser demand of the Asian markets, as consequence of different factors, among them the negative effect on the Indian farmer economics of the review of the subsidy system.



In relation to the industrial phosphates, China is the world’s largest producer, accounting for more than half of the global capacity.


Estimated 2012 Phosphate Rock Capacity

(Total: about 200 million tonnes rock)


Rock Cap




Global phosphate fertilizer (MAP/DAP/TSP) sales volume in 2011 totalled 25.3 million tonnes product (up 1.0% year-on-year). China remained the world’s largest exporter of DAP in 2012 and accounted for a quarter of the global market.





Quater Prc

Saudi Arabia: Ma’aden, Mosaic, Sabic Plan a USD7 Billion Phosphate Venture

Joint stock company Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (MAADEN), Plymouth, Minnesota-based Mosaic Co. (MOS) and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) agreed to form a seven billion dollars joint venture to mine phosphate rock and process it into fertilizer. Ma’aden, will hold a 60 percent stake in the venture and Mosaic, the world’s largest producer of phosphate fertilizers, will have a 25 percent interest, and Sabic 15 percent.

maadenThe Wa’ad Al Shammal Phosphate Project will be built at Wa’ad Al Shammal Minerals Industrial City in northern Saudi Arabia and the processing facilities at Ras Al Khair Minerals Industrial City on the east coast will be expanded. The two locations will be linked by an existing railway. The project will have a capacity of about 3.5 million tonnes a year and start in the late 2016.

Mosaic currently mines phosrock in Florida, where it’s operating at maximum capacity. The company will invest about one billion dollars in the Saudi project, funded over four years starting this year, and market about 25 percent of the output. The joint venture partners are developing plans for a local research and development facility which will encourage the study and development of phosphate products and processes.

Ma’aden was established to facilitate the development of Saudi Arabia’s non-petroleum mineral resources and to diversify the Kingdom’s economy away from the petroleum and petrochemical sectors. The Sabic-Maaden’s venture has a production capacity of about three million tonnes per year of DAP, the fertilizer that dominates the phosphate trade. Production at the new facilities is expected to commence in late 2016 with a total production capacity of approximately 16 million tonnes per year. Ma’aden is planning downstream production of phosphoric and sulphuric acid, DCP (dicalcium phosphate) and MCP (monocalcium phosphate) used in manufacturing animal feed, PPA (pure phosphoric acid) used in food industries, and STPP (sodium tripolyphosphate) used in manufacturing detergents and other industrial purposes.

After many years of negotiations Saudi Arabia acceded to the WTO in December 2005 and with a GDP (purchasing power parity) of over 740 billion dollars it ranks as the 22nd largest world economy.

Saudi P prd

Israel: ICL acquires industrial phosphate business in Germany

Fertilizer and specialty chemicals maker Israel Chemicals (ICL) agreed to acquire the phosphorus pentasulfide (P2S5) business assets and operations of Thermphos International BV, located in Knapsack, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

P2S5 is a specialty ingredient used in the manufacture of highly technical materials such as lubrication oil additives, pesticides and mining chemicals. The product is formed by measuring molten P4 into a reaction vessel containing molten sulphur, at a rate to control the temperature of the exothermic reaction. The temperature of the sulphur and the quantity of P4 added determine whether the pentasulfide or phosphorus sesquisulfide is produced. If purification is necessary, the P2S5 product may be distilled under reduced pressure.

Due to its specialized nature, P2S5 is manufactured in only a limited number of plants in the world. ICL’s performance products operating segment is a leading manufacturer of P2S5 in North America. The deal will make the unit one of the foremost providers of the product in Europe. ICL main competitors are ChemTrade Logistics Company in North America (they produce annually approximately 26 million pounds at their plant in Lawrence, Kansas) and Italmatch Chemicals in Brazil and Singapore.

The acquisition gives ICL a footprint in Europe and extends the range of performance products provided by the company, allowing ICL to play on the whole value chain, from extraction of the phosphate in Israel to its production and transformation into a specialty chemical product. Approximately 76% of ICL-Performance Products external sales are of phosphoric acid of various grades (technical, food, electronics and polyphosphoric acid) and its downstream products. Performance products account for about a fifth of the ICL’s revenues.

ICL authorities stated that the acquisition complements ICL’s global presence in phosphorus-based specialty ingredients, and that it is a step in the global expansion strategy that they have been following for the past decade. In 2012 ICL-PP had USD 1.5 billion revenues, which included USD 65 million in internal sales.

Kazakhstan: Production of sodium hexametaphosphate and phosphates launched in Zhambyl Oblast

Kazphosphate LLC will use a new technology for production of sodium hexametaphosphate (SHMP). This is the first time such innovation is used at the territory of Kazakhstan. The factory will produce final goods with high added value.  The use of the new technologies will triple the energy efficiency. The facility’s capacity is expected to reach 4,000 tonnes of sodium hexametaphosphate and food-grade phosphates per year.

SHMP has various industrial applications from drilling muds to water treatment. In water treatment it acts as a corrosion inhibitor, water softening, ph control, and scale inhibitor. In potato processing it is sometimes used to prevent discoloration. SHMP blended with STPP is also used in processed poultry products to aid in moisture retention during cooking and to help increase shelf life of precooked products. In jams and jellies SHMP and phosphoric acid have been used in minor amounts for firming, buffering and sequestering.

Other industrial applications are in the dentifrices consumption, clay and copper processing, and in the paper and pesticides industry.

Kazphosphate Limited Liability Company has been established on October 27, 1999. The main activities of the Company are exploration works, mining and processing of phosphate rock, production and sales of yellow phosphorus and its derivatives, phosphate fertilizers and fodder phosphates, output of mineral raw material for industrial products. They employ some 5,800 people.

Tunisia: Alkimia Troubles

Due to the hindrances that the chemical company Alkimia suffered because of production interruptions, their annual shipments of STPP declined last year 42.76% over the previous year, passing from 143,397 tonnes to 82,076 tonnes. From this last figure, 78,577 tonnes were shipped for export and only 3,499 tonnes were sold for the local market. STPP, sodium tripolyphosphate, is a raw material used mainly in the manufacture of detergents in powder.

The year 2011 was marked by a significant number of forced interruptions of production units following the strikes and social movements in the industrial zone of Gabes and the lack of phosphoric acid. Several renewals and maintenance have been made, namely the replacement of the elevator unit U-600 and the repainting of the entire plant with the breakdown of damaged concrete.

Under pressure from the trade union confederation, the company was forced to abandon the use of subcontracting and embarked on a logic of the entire tenure of the workforce, or 224 workers, over a period of three years.

Despite all the difficulties, Alkimia generated at the end of the year a net profit of 7.467 million dinars, and this mainly due to the significant decline in purchases of supplies consumed going from 129.019 million dinars in 2010 to 94.010 million dinars at the end of 2011.

Ste Chimique Alkimia SA operates a plant in Zone Industrielle de Ghannouch in Gabes, Tunisia, and has a 55% stake in Societe Kimial SPA, based in Annaba, Algeria and a 100% stake in Alkimia Packaging, which is engaged in packaging and marketing of soda ash in Tunisia and North Africa. The main shareholders of the Company are Groupe Chimique Tunisien, with a 39.1% stake and IMER Company, with a 22.12% stake.

Kazakhstan: Kazphosphate upgrades industrial phosphates

Kazphosphate LLC completed last year un upgrade at its purified phosphoric acid plant and has more than doubled the output of acid and sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP), and improved the acid to food quality, opening new markets in the EU where  the product is in great demand. The industrial phosphates factory is located 15 km to north-west from Taraz along the northern slopes of the Ulken-Burul mountain.

The main activities of the Company are exploration works, mining and processing of phosphate rock, production and sales of yellow phosphorus and its derivatives, phosphate fertilizers and fodder phosphates, output of mineral raw material for industrial products. The company’s products are delivered domestically and exported mainly to the European markets, the CIS countries, and to China. They have a reserve of 1.8 billion tonnes of phosphate ore. Their export capabilities are limited by the fact that the nearest port is around 4,000 kilometres away. There is an US$80 million sulphuric acid plant being built adjacent to the fertiliser plant in Taraz, and due to come online in the fourth quarter of this year.

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