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Publication > Issue > Articles

Coffee's nutrient needs

Summary

A look at the best macro- and micronutrient practices to ensure maximum yields and the very best quality of this demanding crop.

Abstract

Coffee is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, with over two billion cups consumed worldwide every day. Its caffeine content makes it a stimulant to humans, a key factor in its growing popularity, and coffee is today cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, South East Asia, South Asia and Africa. Green (unroasted) coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world.

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Rhewum – the screening experts

Summary

We profile this specialist supplier of screening machines and other equipment for fertilizer plants.

Abstract

Rhewum is an independent family-owned company which was founded in 1927 as Rheinische Werkzeug und Maschinenfabrik. The company specialises in the design and manufacture of screening machines and vibrating feeders that sort and separate bulk materials by particle size. Rhewum supplies a comprehensive range of dry, wet and analysing screens for many industrial applications, notably in the fertilizer and associated raw materials sectors, and the company can design tailor-made plants suitable for specific materials and products. Rhewum supplied its first magnetic screening machine in 1950, producing 1,000 such units by 1967. In 1970, the company filed the first patents for its WAU range of screening machines, setting a new industry standard for screening technology. In 1971, National Engineering of the United States was licensed to manufacture the Rhewum magnetic screening machine in North America. By 1994, 4,000 Rhewum screening units had been supplied worldwide, the total reaching 5,000 by 2004. In 2005, Rhewum commenced production of its SizeChecker facility, an optical on-line measurement device that scales shape and particle size and which can be implemented directly into the materials handling process. The latest Rhewum innovations include the successful commissioning of the first Datasort unit for processing rock salt in deep mines, and the granting of a patent for a screening machine with an integrated cross-flow sifter.

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INDONESIA A new scenario

Summary

A programme of new investments in fertilizer production capacity has been announced in Indonesia. Meanwhile, the government is ceding greater control of domestic fertilizer distribution to the individual producers, which will enable the Indonesian fertilizer industry to be much more responsive to local demand. David Hayes reports on the recent progress.

Abstract

Indonesia’s fertilizer industry is preparing to enter a new expansionist phase as part of the government’s programme to develop the nation’s large gas reserves. Plans to build the first urea plant in seven years are now about to move forward, following the recent appointment of Toyo Engineering Co. (TEC) of Japan to supply its ACES process technology to PT Pupuk Kaltoim of East Kalimantan, for the company’s proposed new 1.25 million t/a urea plant. The PT Pupuk Kaltim project marks a new step forward for Indonesia’s fertilizer industry, with urea production due to increase again after gas supply shortages in North Sumatra caused the closure of the Asean Aceh urea plant some years ago and reduced urea supplies. The PT Pupuk Kaltim plant is expected to be the first of a series of new urea plants to be built close to gas reserves in various locations across Indonesia. Planned to produce 3,500 t/d of urea and 2,500 t/d of ammonia, the new PT Pupuk Kaltim plant is scheduled to start production around the end of 2014 and will be located in East Kalimantan’s gas-rich Bontang province. Natural gas feedstock will be supplied by the provincial government, with at least 20 years’ gas supplies available to supply the new plant.

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TECHNICAL AMMONIUM NITRATE The mining boom boosts demand

Summary

The mining and raw materials boom has spurred investment in additional technical-grade ammonium nitrate capacity. We review the market for this specialised product and the technology involved in its production.

Abstract

The mining and raw materials boom has spurred investment in additional technical-grade ammonium nitrate capacity. We review the market for this specialised product and the technology involved in its production. On 28 May, the Spanish engineering Técnicas Reunidas SA was awarded the contract by Burrup Nitrates Pty. Ltd. to build the technical ammonium nitrate (TAN) plant in the Burrup Peninsula, Western Australia. Burrup Nitrates is a joint venture between Yara International SA (45%), Orica Ltd. (45%) and Apache Corporation (10%). The contract has an estimated value of over $600 million and the plant is expected to commence production in the third quarter of 2015.

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AfricaFertilizer.org advances food security

Summary

There is a stronger sense of purpose as the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa strive towards achieving the food security that has for long eluded the region. A key element in these latest advances is the AfricaFertilizer.org programme developed by IFDC.

Abstract

At the IFA Annual Conference in Doha, participants were able to learn about the major strides being made towards Sub-Saharan Africa’s efforts to achieve enhanced food security when Patrice Annequin, Senior Marketing and MIS Specialist with IFDC made the presentation entitled AfricaFertilizer.org – a progress report since Africa Forum 2011. He recalled the declaration made by Olusequn Obasanjo, the former President of Nigeria during the African Fertilizer Summit at Abuja in June 2006: “To feed our people, we must first feed our soil.” This formed the basis of the Abuja Declaration of Fertilizers. President Obasanjo was aware how far Sub-Saharan lagged behind the rest of the world in its ability to feed itself, and this was reflected in the low rates of fertilizer usage, which averaged just 8 kg/ha nutrients in 2007/08. This was in stark contrast to the world average of 118 kg/ha nutrients and averages of 151 kg/ha in North America, 178 kg/ha in Western Europe and 243 kg/ha in East Asia. Within the continent, South Africa was achieving fertilizer application rates of 41 kg/ha, while the countries of North Africa attained an average usage of 78 kg/ha nutrients. The Abuja Declaration on Fertilizers in 2006 set targets to close this nutrient gap. The major goal was to raise fertilizer usage to 50 kg/ha/year by 2015. In order to achieve this target, the Abuja Declaration listed 12 recommendations, one of which was to improve farmer access to complementary inputs, in the form of quality seeds, irrigation facilities, extension services and market information.”

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BRAZIL The drive for import substitution

Summary

Many projects in the nitrogen, phosphates and potash sectors are currently proposed or advancing towards completion, transforming Brazil's role in international fertilizer markets. We report the progress being made and assess the likely impacts on the balance of global supply and demand.

Abstract

The Brazilian economy is the world’s sixth largest by nominal GDP and is expected to become the fifth by the end of 2012. The country has one of the fastest-growing major economies of the world, posting average annual GDP growths of up to 7% (although evidence of a slowdown suggest that GDP growth in 2012 will be under 3%). Agriculture represented 5.5% of GDP in 2011, and the sector employs 10% of the Brazilian workforce. A sophisticated agribusiness sector has developed, making an important contribution to Brazil’s foreign trade, exporting coffee, soya, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane and beef.

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Better catalyst performance

Summary

A key element in enhancing the efficiency of sulphuric acid plants, and defined as a substance or material that will change the rate of reaction without it being consumed by the reaction. We describe the advances being made by the leading suppliers.

Abstract

The use of catalysts in the production of sulphuric acid can be traced to 1901, when Badische Anilin-und-Soda-Fabrik (BASF) patented a contact process which employed a catalyst to promote the oxidation of SO2 and O2 to give SO3. The active ingredient in this pioneering catalyst was platinum, but while platinum catalysts exhibit high activity, they were costly to manufacture and were easily deactivated by poisons such as arsenic trioxide (As2O3). (Source: Sulphuric acid on the web) The development of alternative catalysts was pursued. BASF developed a catalyst consisting of vanadium pentoxide and alkali metal oxides on a porous silica carrier, which became an industry standard. Monsanto received patents for a catalyst formulation that was tested as Type 210-A in its own plant in 1926. In the 1930s, Monsanto offered for commercial sale the Type 210 vanadium catalyst with its sulphuric acid plant technology.

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POTASH New realities?

Summary

High prices for potash have attracted many junior mining companies to seek entry into the market, as well as such majors as BHP Billiton. Over 200 potash projects have currently been proposed. Is the sector at risk of excess capacity in the longer term?

Abstract

It has been no secret that the leading mining companies, notably BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, have been keen to enter the international potash market. A large number of junior miners are similarly attracted, seeking to bring on stream a diverse and geographically-scattered range of projects involving various mining and extraction technologies. Can what is currently a very robust potash market absorb the aspiring newcomers, large and small? The distinguishing feature of the present potash market structure is its high degree of concentration: there have been no new entrants to the industry since Israel, Jordan and Brazil and the United Kingdom since the 1970s and 1980s. One factor that deterred potential new entrants to the potash industry were the historically flat prices that prevailing for two decades until around 2005, struggling to exceed $120/t f.o.b. Vancouver for much of this period. Among the major ore extracting industries, only phosphate rock prices were lower. As a result the fertilizer raw materials sector held little attraction for other mining companies.

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AWARD For continuing leadership in phosphate research

Summary

The 2012 Pierre Becker Memorial Award was made to Mike Lloyd of FIPR.

Abstract

“In recognition of your outstanding contribution to the understanding, exploitation and application of phosphate resources, the Directors and Staff of Fertilizer International honour Mike Lloyd. The quality of your research has justly earned the lasting admiration of your many friends in the fertilizer world.” This is the citation on the 2012 Pierre Becker Memorial Award that was made to G. Michael “Mike” Lloyd Jr., Director of Research at the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute (FIPR) in Paris on 5 March 2012. Mike is the Director of Research at FIPR and has served FIPR since in a founding and leadership capacity, following an equally distinguished career of over 30 years in the global phosphate industry. At the presentation, BCInsight, publisher of Fertilizer International, was honoured to welcome Luc Maene, Director General of IFA, co-sponsor of the Award, John French, the now retired director of British Sulphur Events and former publisher of Fertilizer International, who first conceived the idea of commemorating the life and achievements of Pierre Becker.

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PhosAgro takes its place on the world stage

Summary

Boosted by an IPO that raised $565 million in fresh capital, the Russian phosphate producer PhosAgro is consolidating its position as a world-ranking supplier, integrating its operations and enhancing the efficiency of its production facilities. The company is also committed to the nitrogen fertilizer sector, as outlined here.

Abstract

Boosted by an IPO that raised $565 million in fresh capital, the Russian phosphate producer PhosAgro is consolidating its position as a world-ranking supplier, integrating its operations and enhancing the efficiency of its production facilities. The company is also committed to the nitrogen fertilizer sector, as outlined here. The Russian phosphate fertilizer PhosAgro is a vertically-integrated company that combines production, processing and logistics. It mines and processes two main types of raw material for the production of mineral fertilizers, namely apatite concentrate and ammonia.

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International Potash Institute – 60 years young

Summary

Following recent changes in the membership profile of the International Potash Institute (IPI), we examine the work being undertaken around the world by the long-established agricultural development organisation.

Abstract

This year marks the 60th birthday of the International Potash Institute (IPI). Headquartered in Horgen, near Zurich, Switzerland, IPI is a non-governmental and non-profit organisation whose mission - which in fact has not changed since 1952 - is to develop and promote balanced fertilisation for the production of higher yields and more nutritious food, together with ensuring sustainable production through the conservation of soil fertility for future generations. IPI was founded in 1952 by German and French potash producers and is today supported by producers in Europe and the Near East. It carries out the major part of its work through a network of Co-ordinators, who work closely with researchers, government offices, extension workers and agribusinesses in countries where the institute believes is a need for scientific and dissemination activities in collaboration with local researchers and research entities.

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NON-FERTILIZER PHOSPHATES Food and metals offset detergents decline

Summary

We review the markets, major issues and the production technologies for food, detergent and other speciality phosphate sectors.

Abstract

Agriculture is the principal user of phosphates, accounting for 80-85% of total consumption. Other major applications of P are in food and animal feed supplements, detergents and other industrial applications. Fig. 1 shows the breakdown of total phosphate use by sector. Via the production of intermediate phosphoric acid, several leading fertilizer producers are also involved in the production of other speciality phosphate products. The principal end-uses for non-fertilizer phosphates are: * Detergents * Food and beverages * Metal treatment * Water treatment * Toothpaste * Other speciality products. Global demand for industrial and food phosphates in 2011 was estimated at 2.1 million tonnes P2O5. This represents a drop of 26% from the 2007 peak level of 2.83 million tonnes P2O5. (The outlook for industrial and food phosphates, Ashok Shinh. Paper presented at Phosphates 2012, El-Jadida, Morocco [March 2012].)

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North Yorkshire – a centre of potash excellence?

Summary

We review plans to develop a second potash facility in North Yorkshire, UK, as Sirius Minerals announces the results of its scoping study.

Abstract

The United Kingdom is just one of 12 countries that currently supply the world market with potash. The vast majority of potash deposits were formed between 50-100 million years ago by the evaporation of large areas of salt water. As Tim Troman, Technical Director and Chartered Minerals Surveyor, Wardell Armstrong LLP observes, their geography explains why potash production is dominated by Canada, the United States and Russia. Strong growth in demand from India, China and some European countries in recent years has led to higher global levels of potash exploration and development. Prices rose sharply during the mid-2000s as some potash mines came to the end of their lives and the world realised ho much more would be needed. Potash prices peaked in 2009/09, briefly touching $1,000/t in some markets. The ease or otherwise of mining potash varies widely. Around the Dead Sea, it lies at the surface, but elsewhere, it must be mined from deep underground. One of the deepest potash mines is that of the UK producer, Cleveland Potash Limited, in Boulby, North Yorkshire. Cleveland Potash exploits a seam that is between 1,200-1,500 m in depth, with an average thickness of 7 m.

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