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Publication > Issue > Articles

Do they mean us?

Summary

A keynote speaker at the 2014 IFA Annual Conference in Sydney was Bryan Dumont, president of APCO Insight. His presentation of the findings of the reputational analysis of the global fertilizer industry commissioned by IFA prompted a keen debate among conference participants.

Abstract

Earning the trust and support of key stakeholders is crucial to any industry, enabling it to spread essential messages to a wider audience. In the case of the fertilizer industry, a positive corporate reputation can help facilitate informing the wider world on the safe and sustainable use of fertilizers while also promoting the role that fertilizers play in food and nutritional security. But does the international fertilizer actually enjoy such a reputation? In January, IFA decided to get some clearer answers to this question, commissioning APCO Insight to undertake a survey among representative groups of policy-makers and influencers and others with an interest in achieving food security worldwide. Keywords: Reputation; Survey; Industry; Benchmark; Policy-makers; Decision-makers; Food security; Organics; Questionnaire; Crops; Nutrients; Sustainability; Co-operations; Education; Message; 4Rs

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Harnessing a continent's resources

Summary

Natural gas, phosphate and potassium resources are being harnessed throughout the continent. We summarise the progress in the various projects under way.

Abstract

Among the diverse range of countries that make up the South American continent, Brazil and Chile are leaders in the global mineral industry, notably in the supply of iron ore, copper, nickel, boron, manganese and lithium. Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico and Peru are also among the world’s major producers of base and precious metals and industrial minerals. The continent also enjoys significant oil and gas reserves, and mineral fuel exports account for high proportions of the total merchandise exports of Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Bolivia and Colombia. South America has the second largest share of the world’s oil reserves, and oil accounts for about 50% of Venezuela’s government revenues, 57% of those of Trinidad and Tobago and almost 40% of Mexico’s. Recent offshore discoveries in Brazil may place it among the countries with the largest oil reserves in the world. Keywords: Latin America; Resources; Natural gas; Pipeline; Brazil; Bolivia; Chile; Colombia; Trinidad & Tobago; Mexico; Venezuela; Argentina; Ecuador; Peru; Energy; LNG; CAPEX; Vale; E&P; Bahia Blanca; Ammonia; Urea; Phosphate; Potash; Projects; Fosfertil; Petrobras; YPF; Phosphate rock; Potash; Projects; Self-sufficiency; Junior mining company

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Potatoes' nutrient needs

Summary

A look at the best macro- and micronutrient practices to ensure maximum yields and best quality for this globally important crop.

Abstract

Many countries produce potatoes as a staple crop for daily diets, but there is a big gap between high and low yields. Average potato yields in the developed countries range between 38-44 t/ha, but the largest producers, namely China and India – accounting for over one-third of world production in 2010 – only achieve yields of 14.7 t/ha and 19.9 t/ha respectively. The yield gap between potato farms in developing and developed economies represents an opportunity loss of over 400 million tonnes. Adequate application and a correct balance between macronutrients and micronutrients will go far to close this yield gap and increase global food security in the process. As a starchy, tuberous crop originally cultivated in the Andes region of South America, potatoes have become an integral part of much of the world’s food supply. They are the world’s fourth-largest food crop, after maize, wheat and rice. Following centuries of selective breeding, there are now over 1,000 different types of potato. Per capita consumption of potatoes is highest in Europe (especially eastern and central Europe), but the most rapid expansion during the past few decades has occurred in southern and eastern Asia. China is now the world’s largest potato-producing country, and nearly one-third of the world’s potatoes are harvested in China and India, as shown in Table 1. Keywords: Nutrient; Micronutrient; Boron; Magnesium; Iron; Calcium; Sulphate; Potassium; Nitrogen; Tuber; Starch; Foliar; pH; Chloride; Deficiency; Irrigation; CRF; Metabolism; Sulphur; Protein; Synthesis; Chlorophyll; Applications; Broadcast; Side-dressing; Fertigation; MKP; Water-soluble

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Grodno Azot stake for sale

Summary

Special correspondent Eugene Gerden reports on plans by the Belarusian government to offer a stake in Grodno Azot to outside investors.

Abstract

The government of Belarus has put up for sale a blocking stake in OAO Grodno Azot, the country’s leading fertilizer producer, according to a recent announcement by the State Property Committee of Belarus. According to Georgy Kuznetsov, chairman of the Committee, the Belarusian government has put the stake up for sale, seeking to attract a strategic investor in Grodno Azot. Reports suggest that the search for an outside investor is urgent, as the company has experienced a shortage of funds for the implementation of its investment projects and expansion plans. Grodno Azot was founded in 1963 and has the capacity to produce 976,800 t/a of ammonia, 785,000 t/a of urea, 720,000 t/a of UAN solutions and 319,000 t/a of ammonium sulphate. Other production at the Grodno complex comprises 80,000 t/a of methanol for technical use, 111,200 t/a of caprolactam, 200,000 t/a of biodiesel and 24,000 t/a of liquid carbon dioxide. About 60% of the Grodno output is sold in the Belarusian domestic market, ensuring the country’s self-sufficiency in nitrogen fertilizers. Keywords: Grodno Azot; JV; Equity; Shareholding; UAN; Stake; Russia; Investors; Gas

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Gas use efficiency – the latest advances

Summary

Developments in the continuing quest to reduce gas consumption and increase plant efficiencies are described.

Abstract

Nitrogen producers throughout the world face an escalating trend in feedstock prices and fluctuations in ammonia and downstream market prices, thus putting them under constant pressure to seek increased efficiencies in their operations. Natural gas is the predominant feedstock used in ammonia production, so a major focus in any efficiency drive is to find ever more economical ways of using it. Improving catalyst performance in ammonia production is a key route to improved gas consumption and enhanced production efficiency. Recognising this need, as a leading supplier of ammonia technology, Haldor Topsøe has devoted many years of research to produce an ammonia synthesis catalyst that provides consistently high and energy-efficient production. The latest innovation is the KM 111 synthesis catalyst. Keywords: Feedstock; Efficiency; Topsøe; KBR; Casale; Clariant; Technology; Innovation; Ammonia Catalyst; Synthesis; Magnetite; Grassroots; Capacity; Concentration; Converter; Reformer; Reaction; Heat; Waste; Exchanger; BFW; Hydrogen; Revamp; Debottlenecking; Compressor; Analysis; Compressor; Turbine; Steam; Emissions; Turbine

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North America leads the way with new capacity

Summary

Keynote presentations for participants at the IFA Annual Conference each year are the medium-term forecasts for fertilizer consumption and fertilizers and raw materials global supply, always presented with great aplomb by Patrick Heffer and Michel Prud'homme respectively.

Abstract

In his assessment of the Fertilizer Outlook 2014-18, Patrick Heffer observed that this outlook may be influenced by faster improvements in nutrient management performance. He noted that fertilizer management is mostly influenced by two sets of policies: fertilizer subsidies and nutrient management policies. In a five-year perspective, changes in the fertilizer subsidy scheme can be expected in India to promote more balanced fertilizer nutrient applications. Fertilizers are also likely to be subsidised in a larger number of Sub-Saharan countries in order to stimulate greater use by smallholder growers. Effective and efficient nutrient management may become a policy goal of a growing number of countries, including emerging economies, while the world’s leading food companies are increasingly setting their own nutrient management standards. These factors are all expected to influence the future demand for fertilizers. Keywords: Medium-term; Forecast; IFA; Canada; Russia; China; Soybean; Maize; Wheat; EECA; Greenfield; Brownfield; Junior miners; Capacity; KCl; PotashCorp; Mosaic; Uralkali; EuroChem

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Opening new phosphate frontiers

Summary

In recognition of your outstanding contribution to the understanding, exploitation and application of phosphate resources, the Directors and Staff of Fertilizer International honour Theodore ("Tip") Fowler. The quality of your research, originality and practical application has justly earned the lasting admiration of your many friends in the fertilizer world.

Abstract

This is the citation on the 2014 Pierre Becker Memorial Award that was made to Theodore “Tip” Fowler, Chief Executive Officer of JDCPhosphate, Inc. on the occasion of 2014 International Fertiliser Society (IFS) Technical Conference in London on 2 July. BCInsight Ltd., publisher of Fertilizer International is most grateful for the kindness of Chris Dawson, IFS Secretary in facilitating the Award to be presented at the meeting. Keywords: Becker; IFS; IHP; Pilot; Trials; Kiln; Thermal

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Green light for EuroChem

Summary

EuroChem has been awarded the right to explore and produce potash from the Belopashinsky licence area in Perm.

Abstract

On 23 June, EuroChem announced that it had won the auction for the right to explore and produce potash from the Belopashinsky potash licence area located in the Verkhnekamskoe deposit in the Perm region of Russia. The licence area for the deposit covers 65 km2 and is adjacent to the Palashersky licence area, where the company’s EuroChem Usolskiy Potash subsidiary is currently developing its mine. EuroChem will make a one-time payment for the use of Belopashinsky potash licence area amounting to RUB 885 million ($25.67 million). This new licence brings EuroChem Usolskiy’s total licence area up to 188 km2. These two licence areas are estimated to have proven and probable reserves of approximately 2.5 billion tonnes of ore, giving a useful mine life of as much as 60 years, with an annual production of around 15 million t/a of ore, yielding 3.7 million t/a KCl. The average potash content at the deposit is estimated to be 30.8% and the mine recovery rate is expected to be approximately 85%. Keywords: EuroChem; Belopashinsky; Usolskiy; Volgaskiy; Shaft; Greenfield; Resource; Reserve; Kovdorskiy; Uralkali; Verkhnekamskoe

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Desalination in phosphate plants

Summary

Several major producers have invested in enhanced desalination facilities, thereby reducing their groundwater extraction requirements. We assess the progress being made in this key area of plant operations.

Abstract

The phosphate industry is a big consumer of water. In Morocco, water consumption by the phosphate industry located in the southern region represents approximately 14% of the country’s industrial consumption. To solve the problem of water shortage in that region, OCP has been using desalinated water. The new Jorf Lasfar Phosphate Hub now under development by OCP will likewise make substantial use of desalinated water. In January 2013, the US company Energy Recovery Inc. supplied pressure exchanger (PX) energy recovery equipment for the large-scale desalination plant under construction at Jorf Lasfar. In the first phase, the plant will have a total estimated capacity of 75,800 m3/day, and by final completion in 2018, the desalination facility will have a total estimated capacity of 225,000 m3/day. The desalination plant at Jorf Lasfar will in addition supply approximately 40,000 m3/day to meet the water needs of the nearby El Jadida municipality. OCP will deliver the produced water to Morocco’s bulk water supplier, ONEP, in exchange for an additional reservoir capacity allowance upstream, at the Khourigba mining operations. OCP’s additional desalination capacity has enabled the company to drastically reduce its use of scarce groundwater resources, which had latterly reached 20 million m3/year, thus enhancing the group’s environmental footprint. Keywords: Morocco; OCP; Saudi Arabia; Ma’aden; Peru; Bayóvar; Water; Seawater; Reverse osmosis; RO; Membrane; SWRO; Evaporation; Ponds; Solute; Filtration; Pump; Thermal; Distillation; Reuse; Recycling

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Dust control at P and K production sites

Summary

We assess best management practices and the available technology to minimise a major cause of air pollution.

Abstract

Protecting air quality is a significant concern for the fertilizer industry. Chemicals must be managed carefully during the manufacturing process, and airborne dust must be minimised. In response to air quality concerns at local and national levels, fertilizer manufacturing facilities implement environmental management systems that control certain air emissions of particular concern, for example nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SO3), particulate matter (PM) and ammonia (NH3). Wet scrubbers and fabric filters are commonly used to control fugitive emissions and dust emissions, especially from bagging operations. (Environmental Stewardship, www.fertilizer101.org) The use of technologies such as non-selective catalytic reduction (NSCR) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) helps to control NOx and SOx, while ammonia recovery units and wet scrubbers are used to minimise NH3 emissions. Fugitive NH3 emissions are typically captured and controlled mostly by rerouting to a wet scrubber system. Keywords: Environment; Venturi; Scrubber; Cyclone; Baghouse; Particulate; Emissions; Milling; Filter; Pressure; Fabric; Penetration; Opacity; Pressure drop; FRP; Recycling; Capture

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