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Publication > Issue > Articles

Iraq: a phosphate Klondike?

Summary

Iraq Mining 2011 was held in London on 7-8 September, with the goal of facilitating contacts between all the key players in the rebuilding the country's economy, using its vast mineral resources as a platform for the creation of massive wealth. Phosphates will spearhead this process.

Abstract

At the Iraq Mining 2011 conference held in London on 7-8 September, the rehabilitation of the country’s phosphate industry was given top priority in the plan to rebuild Iraq’s mineral and mining industries. The meeting was held in conjunction with the National Investment Commission of Iraq (NIC), which offers incentives for foreign investors, including ten years’ tax exemptions. Geological surveys have indicated usable deposits of iron ore, copper, gypsum, dolomite and marble which have yet to be exploited, while output from other mineral resource-based industries, including sulphur and phosphates, has been at very low levels for the past three decades in the aftermath of wars, economic sanctions and the degradation of infrastructure.

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Well-timed in Cairo

Summary

The year 2012 marks the 18th AFA International Annual Fertilizers Forum & Exhibition to be held by the Arab Fertilizer Association (AFA). This meeting will be held in the Cairo Semiramis International Hotel between 7-9 February 2012. It is one of the major events in the worldwide fertilizer industry calendar, providing a highly-appreciated forum that has the goal of communicating and promoting the highest standards, providing an excellent dialogue opportunity between producers, importers and exporters of fertilizers and associated raw materials. Dr. Shafik Ashkar, AFA Secretary, outlines the agenda of the 2012 event.

Abstract

The 2012 event is expected to exceed the numbers attending the previous meetings by a considerable margin. An exhibition will run in parallel to the Forum sessions, providing an ideal platform for manufacturers and suppliers to showcase their products and services to a highly-focused and professional audience.

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Ukraine: back from the brink for now

Summary

In early 2009, at a time of collapsing market prices and escalating feedstock costs, many industry observers were writing off the long-term prospects for the Ukrainian fertilizer industry. However, the country's export-oriented industry has so far been able to confound expectations and remains very much in business. We examine how Ukraine's indigenous fertilizer producers have managed to cope with the much higher costs of production and ask whether there is a sustainable future for the CIS republic's fertilizer industry.

Abstract

While known in international fertilizer markets for the shipments of substantial volumes of ammonia and urea via the Black Sea port of Yuzhny, Ukraine also produces ammonium nitrate, MAP, SSP and NPK fertilizers. The country is a major cereal-producing region, sustaining a demand for around 2.2 million t/a of fertilizers.

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FSU projects: a dash for growth

Summary

A review of developments in the Former Soviet Union republics of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian republics.

Abstract

Turkmenistan possesses the world’s fourth-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources. A recent study indicated that the South Yolotan gas field is now the world’s second-largest in terms of gas-in-place, with estimated reserves of about 23 trillion m3. The state-controlled Türkmengaz controls gas extraction in the country and is seeking to promote further growth in the sector. In 2010, when gas extraction totalled around 120 billion m3, the government concluded a deal with China, whereby the country will become the principal buyer of gas from Turkmenistan, via a pipeline that links the two countries via Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

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Kazakhstan: Sunkar Resources reports first revenues from Chilisai

Summary

Sunkar Resources has reached a critical point in its plans to exploit the phosphorite resources at Chilisai, Kazakhstan. We report on the advances and the setbacks.

Abstract

The UK-registered Sunkar Resources plc is listed on the AIM (Alternative Investment Market) in London but operates principally in Kazakhstan and is developing an integrated fertilizer phosphate project in the Republic. It holds a 100% interest in Temir Service LLP, which holds the Subsoil Use Contract for the Chilisai phosphorite deposit in north western Kazakhstan. An Initial Public Offer (IPO) in June 2008 raised $66 million to commence mining at the site and fund the preparation of a Bankable Feasibility Study.

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Rotex at Rocanville

Summary

Rotex Global LLC is a leading manufacturer of material separation machines which are widely used in the fertilizer industry. The company has recently supplied PotashCorp with a state-of-the-art screening unit, as part of the company's expansion of capacity at its Rocanville mine.

Abstract

PotashCorp is currently expanding the operational capacity of its Rocanville mine in Saskatchewan from 2.8 million t/a to an eventual 5.7 million t/a. There are two sites involved, in addition to developments underground, and the major components in the expansion include the provision of a new mill, a new 500,000-tonnes storage building and rail loading system, as well as a new production head-frame and supporting infrastructure systems.

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Phosphate profitability: peak phosphate?

Summary

Strong demand and firm prices continue to benefit the phosphate industry, but is profitability peaking? Monica Bianchi, Research Manager of Integer Research investigates.

Abstract

The demand-driven upturn which the phosphate market has experienced since the end of 2009 continued to be reflected in producers’ second-quarter 2011 financial results. Revenues and profits for the key producers were strong and the bull run of phosphate prices was supportive of another convincing round of financial results for the business as a whole.

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Mosaic capitalises on outstanding opportunities

Summary

Mosaic Company is the world's largest producer of phosphate and potash fertilizers in combination, enjoying an aggregate capacity of more than 8 million t/a. Its operations are vertically integrated, extending from the mining of phosphate and potash mineral resources to the production of high-quality crop nutrients, feed and industrial products for customers around the globe.

Abstract

Mosaic enjoys a global presence, with direct and shared interests in phosphate production in the United States and Peru, wholly-owned potash production facilities in the United States and Canada, and distribution facilities in North and South America, Australia, Africa and Asia.

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Australia's new fertilizer projects

Summary

A summary of keynote developments.

Abstract

Incitec Pivot Limited has announced that it will conduct a feasibility study for the construction of a world-scale industrial-grade ammonium nitrate plant at its site at Kooragang Island at Newcastle, New South Wales. The plant under study would produce ammonium nitrate for the mining industry in New South Wales, notably in the Hunter Valley region, plus tonnage for export, together with urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) for agricultural use. The feasibility study is due for completion in the fourth quarter of 2012 and has been in response to increased demand for industrial-grade ammonium nitrate (IGAN) from Australia’s buoyant mining sector.

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Improved Hard Process adds value to resources

Summary

By developing the Improved Hard Process (IHP), the Florida-based company JDC, Inc. has brought kiln production technology up to date to offer a practical, economic and environmentally-sound alternative to the wet process route for the production of phosphoric acid. The recent licensing agreement with Minemakers Ltd. points to a real breakthrough in the commercialisation of IHP.

Abstract

Two technological routes have long been available for the production of phosphoric acid, namely the Furnace Acid Process (FAP) and the Wet Acid Process (WAP). WAP offers the cheapest commercialised technology and this factor explains its predominance over FAP in most phosphoric acid manufacturing installations around the world. FAP was developed earlier and it does offer certain advantages over WAP, notably in its ability to harness ores without beneficiation, and it does produce high-purity water-white acid. Water usage is much less compared with WAP and the solid wastes that are produced via the process do not leach impurities. Radioactivity can be held in a stable form with FAP. However, FAP involves the intensive use of electricity and the raw material feed to the process must be clinkered. Production costs are therefore high. (Improved Hard Process: Best Available Technology for Producing High-Grade Phosphoric Acid from Lower Zone Phosphate Ore in the Florida Southern Extension, Dr. Joseph A. Megy, JDC Phosphate. 23rd Annual Regional Phosphate Conference, Lakeland [October 2008].) 

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Cost-optimised phosphate pumping systems

Summary

Casting a spotlight on an area where significant efficiency gains and cost savings can be achieved.

Abstract

Pumping equipment and energy costs comprise a significant element in both the capital expenditure of a phosphate project and in the subsequent facility operating costs. The criterion of minimising the outlay on pumping and piping systems during the planning and construction phase of the project may be incompatible with achieving the lowest running costs during the operational life of the facility. In his paper presented at the 2010 AIChE Clearwater Conference (Cost-Optimised Pumping in the Phosphate Industry), Eric Coffin of Green Energy Engineering, Inc. observed: “It has been the author’s experience that the ‘under budget’ claim was accomplished with ‘value engineering’ that focused only on a cheap bid and not true life-cycle cost.”

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Who's who in pump and piping systems

Summary

Specialist suppliers offer tailor-made pumps and piping for use in phosphate installations. We profile some of the leading players.

Abstract

Acid Piping Technology
Based in Arnold, Missouri, United States, Acid Piping Technology (APT) specialises in engineered products for the sulphuric and phosphoric acid industries worldwide. APT maintains the world’s largest inventory of MONDI™ pipe and fittings for routine or emergency needs. The company has the capability to supply a full range of products, enabling APT to combine many different products for any specific project, thus helping to save shipping costs to anywhere in the world.

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Wastewater treatment update

Summary

We highlight some of the recent advances in technology in the treatment of water used in the transport of phosphate rock slurry and downstream processing.

Abstract

The processing of phosphate rock from extracted ore and the production of liquid and granular phosphate fertilizers requires the use of millions of gallons of water. All the water used in this production is managed on the facility property through a series of large ponds and canals that act as plant process make-up water and a heat sink for plant operations. (Mobile Wastewater Treatment Helps Remediate Concentrated Acidic Process Water at Fertilizer Plant, B. Perpich Jr., Chris Soule et al. Article published in Florida Water Resources Journal [July 2005].)

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