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Publication > Issue > Articles

Haifa Chemicals embraces SMART!

Summary

Abstract

In May 2012, Haifa Chemicals Ltd. signed an agreement for the exclusive distribution of SMART! fertilizer management software. Haifa Chemicals is a leading supplier of potassium nitrate for agriculture and industry, as well as speciality plant nutrients and food nutrients, meeting the needs of growers of high added-value products – a target market for the SMART! nutrient management package. keywords: Software; Nutrients; Potash; Fertigation; Irrigation

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Is China reaching its limits?

Summary

Challenges for fertilizer production and consumption in China are mounting, embracing the country's availability of resources, tax regimes, nutrient use efficiencies and emissions in an ever more polluted industrial and urban environment.

Abstract

For more than a decade, China has been outpacing the rest of the world in its economic growth, and the country’s buoyant GDP is widely regarded as having helped the western world avoid plunging into all-out depression in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008. More recently, there has been some loss of momentum in the rate of GDP growth, but China retains its unassailable top ranking in the world league table. (Table 1) Although the IMF had forecast a slight upturn in China’s rate of growth during 2013, which would be sustained going into 2014, it may prove necessary to revise such forecasts. In May, China’s National Bureau of Statistics announced that the country’s real GDP grew by 7.7% year-on-year during the first quarter of 2013. Financial markets around the world were disappointed as the figure did not meet their expectations of 8% growth. Many economists and analysts both in and outside China suspected that the actual growth rate was considerably lower. (Chinese Asahi Asia Antenna [20 May 2013].) One report suggested that the Chinese political leadership pays the greatest attention to only three of the many economic statistics that are published: electricity consumption, railway cargo volume and bank lending. The leadership is reported to view GDP data as artificial, providing only limited information when formulating economic policy. Keywords: China; Expansion; Mining; Ammonia; Natural gas; Phosphates; GDP; Ammonium bicarbonate; GHG emissions; Nutrient use efficiency; Coal; Urea

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eKonomics.com boosts the bottom line

Summary

Abstract

On 3 June, PotashCorp officially launched www.potashcorp-ekonomics.com. This is a new on-line resource that delivers an easy-to-understand analysis of soil science data and agronomic information, complete with interactive calculators, video, information graphics and other tools to help all farmers make more informed farm management decisions. As part of a larger campaign to promote best management practices to help farmers achieve greater financial success, the site will underscore the benefits that fertilizers – specifically potash – can deliver to the bottom line. Keywords: BMPs; Nutrient removal; Software; Potash; IPNI

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Tea'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

One of the world’s most popular and lowest cost beverages, tea is produced from the Camellia sinensis plant, an evergreen tree that grows mainly in tropical and subtropical climates. In its natural state, it grows to about 15 m tall, but in commercial production, the tea plant is maintained as a hedge at a height of about 1.0-1.5 m by regular pruning. The young shoots (comprising two or three leaves and a bud) are plucked and processed for the production of tea. Harvesting continues throughout the year. Tea plants are propagated from seed and cutting. It takes about 4-12 years for a tea plant to bear seed and about three years before a new plant is ready for harvesting. Tea requires a mild climate with high rainfall and relative humidity. Keywords: Tea;Potash;Magnesium; Calcium; Recommendations; Potassium sulphate; Sulphur; Zinc; Foliar application; Protein; Micronutrients

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Controlled-release fertilizers: smart options

Summary

New technical advances continue to propel this increasingly important market sector. We profile the leading players and spotlight the ever-widening range of products and services that they offer.

Abstract

Controlled-release fertilizers (CRFs) are defined as products that release the nutrients into the soil for plant uptake at a pre-determined time and rate. (Controlled Release Fertilizers: Trends and Technologies, Dr. Sunil S. Jain.) They may be applied to fulfil specific objectives, including: l Increased crop production l Increased nutrient efficiency and quality l Reduction of plant toxicity and stress l Substantially reduced contamination of soil, water reservoirs and atmosphere l Reduced fertilizer application costs. CRFs may be distinguished from slow-release fertilizers (SRFs), even though the terms are widely used synonymously. SRF is used to define organic fertilizer materials like hoof and horn and urea formaldehyde, as well as low-solubility chemical fertilizers such as dicalcium phosphate and magnesium ammonium phosphate. CRFs by contrast are defined as inorganic fertilizers that have been coated by materials such as sulphur, acrylic resins, polyethylene or waxes. The coating reduces the fertilizer’s immediate solubility and availability to plants, with the objective of phasing the release of the nutrient(s) to a time when it is most required by the plant. According to the definition by AAPFCO (Association of American Plant Food Controls), CRFs typically contain about 30-40% N and about 10-30% sulphur. Keywords: CRFs; SRFs; Polymer; Coating; Urea-formaldehyde; Sulphur-coated

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Magnesium in agriculture: Many sources for a key nutrient

Summary

The sources of this essential nutrient include potassium magnesium sulphate, Epsom salts and magnesium oxides.

Abstract

Magnesium (Mg) is an essential plant nutrient found from 0.2-0.4% dry matter and is necessary for normal plant growth. There are various soluble and slowly soluble Mg sources available to meet crop requirements. Mg deficiency may often be encountered in low pH, sandy soils where Al dominates the soil cation exchange sites and where Mg can be easily leached away. Excess K fertilisation can aggravate the stress from Mg deficiency. Mg plays an important part in the synthesis of amino acids, proteins, vitamins, oils and sugars, forming the central atom of the chlorophyll molecule. It increases plant productivity by boosting chlorophyll, photosynthesis and carbohydrate production and promotes the uptake of phosphorus (P), the activator in over 300 enzymes and B vitamins. Mg acts as a P carrier in plant metabolism and controls cellular respiration, in addition increasing resistance to pest and fungal attack and leaf, seeds and fruit disease. In sum, Mg creates stronger, healthier and nutrient-rich plants with increased yield. Keywords: Nutrient balances; Magnesium; Micronutrients; WHO; Boron; Calcium; Zinc; Cobalt; Copper; Manganese; Molybdenum; Hydroponics; Fertigation; Foliar sprays; Kieserite; Kainite; Epsom salt; Langbeinite; Schoenite; Dolomite; Water-soluble; Struvite

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SYMPHOS 2013 places innovation at the forefront

Summary

We report on the keynote presentations at the recent SYMPHOS meeting hosted by OCP in Agadir, Morocco.

Abstract

The second edition of SYMPHOS, the international symposium on innovation and technology in the phosphate industry, was held in Agadir, Morocco on 8-10 May. The meeting attracted over 1,000 participants and picked up the baton from the successful inaugural event of 2011, which placed innovation, science and technology at the top of the agenda. SYMPHOS 2013 maintained the momentum set by the debut meeting two years ago, showcasing the latest ideas and technologies relevant to the phosphate industry worldwide. The agenda included ten high-level keynote speeches and 98 presentations that addressed 15 themes, including the environment, energy, sustainable development, agriculture and fertilizers. The meeting also hosted ten workshops that assessed the challenges facing the phosphate industry, covering aspects of mining, downstream production and the effective use of resources while meeting the most stringent environmental criteria. SYMPHOS 2013 also featured nine specialised one-day courses, addressing topics of interest of different stakeholders in the phosphate industry. Keywords: OCP; Morocco; Innovation; Mining; Phosphates; Phosphate rock; Rare earth elements; Phosphogypsum; Uranium; Dragline; Phosphoric acid; Dihydate; Hemihydrate; Filtration; Beneficiation; Slurry; Flotation; Energy consumption

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Go west!

Summary

The western states of Idaho, Utah and Wyoming currently account for approximately 12% of total US phosphate production. As the Central Florida rock reserves become depleted, the western US phosphate industry is expected to assume a higher profile. We assess the current players, their plans for investment, and profile the major greenfield projects.

Abstract

The Western Phosphate Field of the United States covers an area of 350,000 km2 in the northern Rocky Mountains and contains extensive deposits of commercial-grade phosphate. The thick, high-grade deposits constitute an important economic resource that has been mined for the past century. Currently, five open-pit mines operate in the region, four in Idaho and one in Utah, that together produce about 6 million t/a of phosphate rock, 12-14% of total US phosphate production. The Western Phosphate Field deposits are contained in marine sedimentary rocks that were deposited about 265 million years ago on the western margin of North America. The US Geological Survey (USGS) reports that the phosphate-bearing rocks contain organic carbon- and phosphate-rich mudstone, siltstone, phosphorite, carbonate, shale and chert. The formation is generally thickest in south eastern Idaho and thins to the north, east and south east. In addition to phosphate rock, molybdenum and silver are mined in the region. Keywords: Mining; Phosphate rock; Idaho; Mining ; Beneficiation; Permits; Environment; Selenium; Sedimentary; USGS; Leaching; NI 43-101; JORC; CAPEX; Resources; Reserves; NPV; IRR

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Maximising water use efficiencies

Summary

We assess advances in the technology to minimise water consumption and losses throughout the phosphate and potash mining and manufacturing processes.

Abstract

Water is an essential part of mining and processing operations in both the phosphate and potash sectors, being essential for the processing of the mineral ores, dust control, irrigation, the cooling of machinery and staff amenities. Minerals processing tends to use the most water within a mining operation. (Water Use in the New South Wales Minerals Industry, NSW Minerals Council.) Mines can use a large proportion of the available water in a region, particularly in phosphate operations conducted in the semi-arid regions of the Middle East. Companies tend to view water strategically and are driven to use water efficiently due to its low availability in some areas and the need to ensure continuing operations, the expectations of the community and the cost of using water. Mines get their water from a variety of sources, depending on local conditions and requirements. Sources include rivers, groundwater aquifers, rainfall, water recycled on site, local authority fresh water supply or water supplied by a third party, including other mines. While water quality is important for some aspects of mining and minerals processing, lower quality water such as treated effluent and saline groundwater can be used for some purposes. This reduces a mine’s demand for higher quality water, which can have environmental benefits as well as leaving higher quality water for others in the community. Mines frequently have water treatment facilities on site, so that lower quality water can be treated to a quality that is “fit-for-purpose” – that is, treated to a quality that is suitable for the purpose being used. Most phosphate and potash mines now recycle a high proportion of their water on site, with some mines recycling up to 90% of their water. Keywords: Water; Reverse osmosis; Ion exchange; Mining; Potash; Phosphate; Groundwater; Aquifer; Recycling; Phosphogypsum; Fluosicilic; Pond

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FSU Potash: major investments gather pace

Summary

The potash producers of the Former Soviet Union enjoy a leading place in world markets. We assess the suppliers and their investment plans.

Abstract

With a total capacity of 22.3 million t/a KCl, the potash producers of the Former Soviet Union (FSU) accounted for 30% of world potash capacity in 2012. Between 2012 and 2017, total potash capacity in Russia, Belarus and Uzbekistan is projected to increase by 35%, to reach 30 million t/a KCl. (Fertilizers and Raw Materials Global Supply 2013-17, Michel Prud’homme. Paper presented at IFA Annual Conference, Chicago [May 2013].) Half of this projected increase would come from Uralkali’s expansions and one-third from EuroChem’s greenfield developments in Perm and the Volgograd areas. The remainder would come from expansions at Belaruskali and in Uzbekistan. In 2011, Russia and Belarus supplied an aggregate 12 million tonnes K2O of marketable potash, out of a world total of 36.4 million tonnes K2O. As shown in Table 1, Russia and Belarus rank respectively second and third in global potash output. Keywords: EuroChem; Uralkali; Belarus; Russia; Belaruskali; Uzbekistan; Potash; Mining; CAPEX; Investment; Capacity; Azot; Verkhnekamskoe; Perm; Shaft; Sylvinite; Resources; Greenfield; Capacity; Infrastructure; NI 43-101; JORC

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