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Publication > Issue > Articles

Uralchem announces new ammonia plant

Summary

Eugene Gerden, special correspondent, outlines Uralchem's plans to build a new ammonia plant and terminal in Taman, southern Russia.

Abstract

Uralchem, one of the world’s leading producers of mineral fertilizers, plans to invest up to $1.2 billion in developing a new integrated ammonia plant and transhipment terminal in the Russian seaport of Taman, in the Krasnodar Krai region of southern Russia. The new plant will have a capacity of 800,000 t/a, while the new terminal will have a planned throughput of around 2 million t/a. The project is subject to approval by the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade. According to Uralchem, constructing the ammonia plant will cost an estimated $900 million, while the terminal will cost around $180 million. Uralchem is giving a high priority to implementing the project, especially as Russia currently lacks adequate maritime facilities for ammonia transhipments. Many Russian ammonia suppliers have been forced to use foreign ports for these operations. Keywords: Russia; Taman; Seaport; Krasnodar Krai; Ammonia; Port; Transhipment; Acron; Phosagro; EuroChem; Projects; EBITDA; Exports

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Start the clock

Summary

A significant step towards establishing a universally accepted indicator for measuring Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) was taken on 23 September, when an expert panel of selected representatives from science, governmental policy and the fertilizer industry agreed a programme that will ultimately lead to improved NUE in the food chain in Europe.

Abstract

The initiative to set up an EU Nitrogen Expert Panel on nitrogen use efficiency came from Fertilizers Europe, but it will be run independently of the industry association. The initiative above all represents an important advance for the European fertilizer industry and shows its determination to forge strong links with science and government policy-makers. The panel members met in Windsor, UK on 22-23 September and wasted no time in announcing a timetable and rolling programme for formulating a Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) indicator. This will provide all key players within the food chain (legislation, policy-makers as well as farmers) with an easy but sufficiently precise indicator for NUE monitoring in order to ensure a broad stakeholder engagement. As Fertilizers Europe noted, although N-balance and N-surplus are already reported on a regular basis, the existing indicators do not adequately cover productivity or efficiency. Keywords: Nitrogen use efficiency; NUE; EU; Europe; Fertilizers Europe; Panel; Scientists; Policy-makers; Wagningen; Food china; Common Agricultural Policy; Forum

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Unlocking the fertilizer market

Summary

The military dictatorship has bowed out, paving the way for Burma (officially known as Myanmar) to make up for lost time in the development of a domestic fertilizer market and industry.

Abstract

For long very tightly controlled by a military dictatorship, Burma is one of the poorest nations in South East Asia, having suffered from decades of stagnation and mismanagement that stemmed from its isolation, reinforced by international sanctions against the regime. The country has been starved of investment, lacks adequate infrastructure and suffers frequent shortages of energy. The military government retains majority shareholdings in all the major industrial corporations, including the energy sector, but there has been a thawing in the climate for foreign investment. Keywords: Burma; Myanmar; South East Asia; Natural gas; Asian Development Bank; Project; Rice

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New capacity projects

Summary

Significant investment in new fertilizer capacity has been mooted throughout Asia. How far will the projects go towards achieving regional fertilizer self-sufficiency and export capability?

Abstract

In its assessment of medium- and long-term capacity developments in Asia, IFA has sub-divided the region into two groups: China and South East Asia. In China, capacity in all nutrients is being expanded, despite over-capacity in the nitrogen and phosphate sectors. (Fertilizers and Raw Materials Global Supply 2014-18, Michel Prud’homme [May 2014].) Chinese nitrogen and phosphate producers are assessing opportunities in the export market, while facing consolidation and restructuring on the domestic front – notably in the small-scale nitrogen production sector. China is forecast to remain a large exporter of N and P products, pending adequate economic returns and margins. Keywords: Investment; Capacity; India; China; South East Asia; Ammonia; Urea; Feedstocks; DAP; Subsidy; Projects; Natural gas; Greenfield; Joint venture; MoU; Phosphate rock; Naphtha; Phosphate; Imports; Phosphoric acid; Coal; Indonesia; Malaysia; Vietnam; Self-sufficiency

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New frontiers for supercharged nutrition

Summary

We look at the fast-growing markets for speciality plant nutrient products, including CRFs, water-soluble fertilizers, trace elements, biostimulants and bioconsortia.

Abstract

The total market for agricultural inputs is estimated at $150 billion by value, of which fertilizers comprise 71% of the total and pesticides 25%. Speciality plant nutrients in all forms are estimated to account for 4% of this total. According to New Ag International, the current market share among speciality nutrition products is divided between water-soluble fertilizers (45%) and trace elements (15%), while biostimulants are poised to command an increasing share of the total. The market for speciality fertilizers has traditionally been seen as a niche sector, dwarfed in volume terms by the commodity fertilizers market, but it is today enjoying a very rapid growth and is continuing to evolve in the wake of new product innovations and the prospect of high added-value returns. Compared with the primary nutrient markets of nitrogen, phosphates and potash, which are geared to large production volumes, speciality fertilizer markets are diversified. Among the speciality fertilizer types are water-soluble straight fertilizers, controlled-release fertilizers and formulated fertilizers. Whereas the conventional fertilizer market is worth an estimated $100 million per year and is growing in volume terms at between 2-3%/year, the speciality market overall is worth between $2-2.5 billion annually and is growing at an estimated 5-8%/year. Keywords: Water-soluble; CRF; Biostimulants; Bioconsortia; Trace elements; Inputs; Speciality fertilizers; Fertigation; Drip irrigation; WSF; Foliar application; Micronutrients; SRFs; Slow-release; Controlled-release; Nitrification inhibitors; Urease inhibitors; Chelates; Nitrogen stabilisers;

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Advances in design

Summary

The design of heat exchangers used in ammonia and urea production has continued to advance.

Abstract

A heat exchanger is a piece of equipment built for efficient heat transfer from one medium to another. The media may be separated by a solid wall to prevent mixing or they may be in direct contact. Heat exchangers are widely used in many chemical and fertilizer plants, natural gas processing and petroleum refineries. There are three primary classifications of heat exchangers according to their flow arrangement. In parallel-flow heat exchangers, the two liquids enter the exchanger at the same end and travel in parallel to one another to the other side. In counter-flow heat exchangers, the liquids enter the exchanger from opposite ends. The counter- current design is viewed as the most efficient, as it can transfer the most heat from the heat medium due to the fact that the average temperature difference along any unit length is greater. In a cross-flow heat exchanger, the liquids travel roughly perpendicularly to one another through the exchanger. Keywords: Heat exchanger; Ammonia; Urea; Equipment; Parallel flow; Counter flow; Cross flow; Shell and tube; PHEs; Waste heat recovery; SHEs; Boiler; Steam; Feedwater; HTER; Haldor Topsøe; KBR; Gas; GEA; Tubesheet; Reactor

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South Boulder changes tack

Summary

South Boulder Mines is close to finalising the preliminary and definitive feasibility studies for its Colluli potash project in Eritrea. The planned operation promises to have a significant impact in the world market.

Abstract

In partnership with ENAMCO (Eritrean National Mining Co.), South Boulder Mines Ltd. is promoting the Colluli potash project in the Danakil region of Eritrea, East Africa. The Danakil Depression has attracted interest from other developers and is set to emerge as a major potash-producing region, comparing favourably in terms of size, resource depth and environmental and logistical issues against other potash belts globally, notably those in Saskatchewan, Canada and the Urals, Russia. Three mining groups are proceeding with projects to develop the Danakil potash belt, which extends into Ethiopia. In addition to South Boulder Mines, Allana Potash and Ethiopian Potash hope to launch potash production, based on 4.2 billion tonnes of measured and indicated potassium salts across the Danakil to date. Keywords: Potash; Project; Potassium sulphate; K2SO4; Junior mining; Eritrea; Danakil; Red Sea; Resource; Sylvinite; Carnallite; Kainite; Mineralisation; Red Sea; Greenfield; DFS; PFS; Feasibility study; Sylvite; CAPEX; OPEX

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Harnessing low-grade phosphate rock

Summary

How can the established downstream phosphate producers remain competitive in the face of declining rock quality?

Abstract

Phosphate rock with a minimum of 28% P2O5 is normally required for manufacturing phosphoric acid and downstream fertilizers. At present, most marketed grades of phosphate rock contain more than 30% P2O5. To meet this requirement, most of the phosphate ores undergo beneficiation, as most of the high-grade phosphate rocks worldwide have either been exhausted or face depletion. Many techniques are available for upgrading low-grade ores, including washing, screening, de-sliming, magnetic separation, flotation and calcination. Other methods for utilising low-grade phosphate rock include acidulation, alkalisation and the direct application of phosphate rock to the soil. As the quality of phosphate rock declines at the major sources of supply, processing techniques are being further developed to cope with the different impurities present in the phosphate rock. The role of beneficiation is becoming increasingly important due to the fact the reserves which need little or no treatment are becoming much scarcer. Keywords: Phosphate rock; Beneficiation; Screening; Desliming; Flotation; Calcination; DAP; Impurities; Apatite; Igneous; Sedimentary; Feedstocks; Carbonates; Calcite; Dolomite; Ore; Gangue; Magnetic separation; Washing; Clays; Calcium; Magnesium; Crago; Ions; FIPR; Gypsum; Ionic; Cationic; Triboelectrostatic; Separation; RTS; Concentrate

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More added value from phosphates

Summary

Rare earth elements extracted from phosphate processing promise an extra source of revenue. How close are the producers to full-scale commercialisation?

Abstract

Rare earth elements (REEs) are defined as one of a set of 17 chemicals in the periodic table, specifically the 15 lanthanides, plus scandium and yttrium. While rare earth elements are relatively plentiful in the earth’s crust, because of their geochemical properties, REEs are typically dispersed and not often found concentrated as rare earth minerals in economically exploitable ore deposits. Table 1 lists the 17 principal REEs, their atomic number and symbol and their main uses. The use of REEs in high-tech applications has led demand to skyrocket, reaching around 90-100,000 t/a. Fig. 1 shows some of the primary sources of current demand. In particular, the REE industry is today being driven by the fast paces of innovation and regulations, especially in the energy sector, including lighting and wind turbines. (A forward look into rare earth supply and demand: a role for sedimentary phosphate deposits, Patrice Christmann, BRGM Corporate Strategy Directive. Paper presented at Phosphates 2014.) Keywords: Rare earth elements; REEs; Phosphate processing; Lanthanides; Scandium; Yttrium; Lanthanum; Cerium; Praseodymium; Neodymium; Promethium; Europium; Gadolium; Terbium; Phosphors; Dysprosium; Holmium; Erbium; Thulium; Ytterbium; Lutetium; Oxides; Uranium; Sedimentary; Phosphate rock; TREO; Phosphogypsum; MoU; Phosphoric acid; Separation; Phosphorite; China; Concnetrate; Leaching; Fluorosilicates

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