Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Ma’aden) has announced it is developing a third phosphate fertilizer manufacturing complex.
The project is expected to be implemented in phases and have a total capacity of 3 million metric tons/year (MMt/y). Ma’aden estimates the investment costs to be approximately 24 billion Saudi riyals ($6.4 billion) and says full capacity is expected to be reached in 2024. The project is subject to completion of feasibility studies and necessary approvals.
Phosphate is one of the most important products within Ma’aden’s portfolio. The company produces mono- and diammonium phosphate (DAP) and plans to introduce new phosphate compounds.
The company currently operates two phosphate fertilizer producing joint ventures (JVs): Ma’aden Phosphate Co., in which SABIC has 30% and Ma’aden the rest; and Ma’aden Wa’ad Al-Shamal Phosphate, which was created in partnership with SABIC and Mosaic. The former has the capacity to produce 3 MMt/y of ammonium phosphate. The facilities are located at two large sites in Saudi Arabia: Al-Jalamid, in the north of the country close to the phosphate mine and ore beneficiation plant, and Ras Al-Khair, which includes an integrated plant for producing fertilizers and chemicals.
The mine produces about 11.6 MMt/y of phosphate ore, which undergoes beneficiation to produce almost 5 MMt/y of phosphate concentrate. The product is transported to Ras Al-Khair, where the phosphate fertilizers are produced. At this site, the JV produces phosphoric and sulfuric acids, ammonia, and DAP.
Ma’aden announced in 2012 another large phosphate project at Wa’ad Al-Shamal. Ma’aden markets 60% of its production, of which 3 MMt/y are sold as end-use products, including ammonium phosphate and complex phosphate fertilizer, as well as 440,000 metric tons/year of chemicals, including purified phosphoric acid, used in the food industry; sodium tripolyphosphate, used in detergents; and dicalcium and monocalcium phosphate, used in animal feed.
By Natasha Alperowicz
Source: Chemical Week
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