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Sulphuric Acid on the WebTM Technical Manual DKL Engineering, Inc.

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Sulphuric Acid - NEWS


Updated November 16, 2019

 

2019


53 KCM employees and 232 pupils hospitalized in Zambia following sulphur dioxide emission
Brunswick Smelter to Shut by Year End
Mosaic cutting production in St. James

$174-million acid plant up and running at Trail smelter
Aurubis' Bulgarian plant cuts 9-mo output due to shutdowns
Freeport Confident of Meeting 2023 Smelter Target After Securing $3b Loan Commitment
Trafigura takes control of Nyrstar
Five ex-BASF employees charged with tech theft
Mosaic will close Plant City fertilizer plant

Ascension plant's $40M expansion will create 100 construction jobs

Freeport to Start Talks With 15 Banks to Finance Unprofitable, but Politically Important New Smelter
Chemetics® joined Worley at the end of April 2019 as part of the acquisition of Jacobs’ Energy, Chemicals and Resources line of business 
ioneer Ltd Awarded SNC-Lavalin Group the Engineering and Design Contract for the Sulphur Acid Plant

Chilean state miner Codelco reports copper production cuts, plunging profits in 2018
 

PhosAgro to build fertilizer production facility at Metachem site

Codelco terminates the contract with SNC Lavalin and takes control of the works in Chuquicamata
Namibia hosts acid conference
Fertiliser leader OCP signs up Outotec for sulphuric acid plant EPC

ACS Group to Build 2 of World’s Largest Sulfuric Acid Plants in Morocco
Wata Chemicals Opens New Plant
ITT Announces Agreement to Acquire Rheinhütte Pumpen Group

Brazilian fertilizer firm Heringer restructures, closes plants

Electrozinc to be Mothballed by mid-2019

India court clears way for Vedanta Smelter restart 


2018   2017    2016   2015   2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
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1998


53 KCM employees and 232 pupils hospitalized in Zambia following sulphur dioxide emission

November 15, 2019 - Zambia's environmental regulator said on Friday that an acid plant belonging to Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has been shut following a report of an abnormal discharge of sulphur dioxide which has affected residents living around the mining area in Chingola district on the Copperbelt Province.  The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) said the mining firm has shut the acid plant and that a team of inspectors has been dispatched to investigate the incident.  Ireen Chipili, corporate affairs manager at the regulator said in a statement that preliminary information availed by the mining firm indicate that a number of people living around the mining area have been affected by the emissions.  Some people have since been hospitalized, she added.  She further said further regulatory action will be undertaken in line with the provisions of the country's environmental laws once investigations have been concluded

Brunswick Smelter to Shut by Year End

November 15, 2019 - About 420 jobs are set to go by Christmas at Glencore Canada’s Brunswick lead smelter, a significant employer in New Brunswick, Canada.  The smelter has been uneconomic since the former Xstrata-owned Brunswick mine closed in 2013.  Zinc and lead assets head Chris Eskdale said the company had "thoroughly assessed all options" but ultimately concluded "the smelter is simply not sustainable".  He said the closure came regardless of the recent labour dispute.  About 280 workers from the Brunswick smelter in Belledune, members of USW Local 7085, have been locked out of their jobs by Glencore since April 24. The workers say the Swiss-based multinational is demanding concessions that include "attacks on the workers' health and safety standards and union representation".  Glencore said it would provide pension, severance and outplacement support services for all employees as part of closure settlements yet to be agreed on. The company would also seek potential relocation opportunities at its mining and metallurgical operations in other provinces and countries, which might be available to Brunswick smelter workers.  The company plans to retain "a small number" of employees on site for monitoring, water treatment and closure projects "in the months ahead".  The Brunswick smelter opened in 1966 as part of the Brunswick No.12 development, underpinned by the largest deposit in the Bathurst base metals camp and was one of the largest underground zinc mines in the world well into the late 1990s.  The Brunswick Local 7085 website advised the committee would meet this Friday "to make a game plan" and would meet the company on Monday morning to discuss the closure.

Mosaic cutting production in St. James

September 17. 2019 - Mosaic Co. is idling its Louisiana phosphates operations in St. James, cutting production by about 500,000 tons this year, as imports into the country have pushed down prices.  The move is intended to speed up how fast Mosaic can empty its inventories, though the company expects “a more balanced global supply-and-demand picture to emerge by 2020.”  Prices of the fertilizer ingredient have been under pressure since late 2018 as demand remains weak and capacity expansions in Morocco and Saudi Arabia have increased output and exports, Reuters reports.  “Phosphate prices have declined further through the summer, with excess imports continuing to enter the U.S. on top of high channel inventories,” President and CEO Joc O’Rourke said in a statement. “We expect our move to idle production to tighten supply and rebalance the market. Mosaic will prioritize shipments to meet key customer needs through the idling period.”   The company will also initiate $250 million in stock repurchases under its existing share repurchase authorization, which has $850 million of remaining capacity, according to the announcement.  Mosaic operates its Faustina and Uncle Sam facilities in St. James Parish. At the Uncle Sam Facility, a turbo generator harnesses excess heat from sulfuric acid production. The cogeneration process allows Mosaic to harness “clean and green” energy. Uncle Sam produces phosphoric acid, which is then shipped across the river to the company’s Faustina facility, producing ammonia to make MAP, DAP and other products.

$174-million acid plant up and running at Trail smelter

September 13, 2019 - After two years of construction valued at $174 million, the No. 2 Acid Plant is now in service at the Trail smelter.  Teck Trail Operations officially announced the plant’s completion on Thursday, though the new facility has been fully operational since Q2 (second quarter), or late spring.  “This investment supports our ongoing focus on sustainability and the long-term viability of our operation,” Thompson Hickey, General Manager, Trail Operations, said in the Sept. 12 media release.  “Using the best available technology, the new plant will enhance productivity and operational efficiency here at Trail Operations.”  The new structure is a state-of-the-art replica of the No. 1 Acid Plant, which was completed in 2014.  Attributes of both facilities is “to significantly improve operating reliability and flexibility, reducing downtime and maintenance costs.”  The new plants replace 1970s technology and are expected to have a lifespan of over 40 years.  Ground broke on the second site in early 2017. Over the course of the build, the No. 2 Acid Plant created the equivalent of roughly 160 jobs, with local hires as the majority of contractors.  “Our employees and contractor partners have exemplified safety as a core value on the project, which was completed with zero lost time injuries,” said Hickey.  Local and provincial leaders were taken on a tour of the worksite in May 2018, when the build was at the half-way point.  “The No. 2 Acid Plant is the latest major investment to further strengthen Trail’s position as a world-class metallurgical facility and an important part of our business,” Shehzad Bharmal, Vice President, North America Operations, Base Metals, said at the May 22 event.  “Teck, as a company, is committed to the future of Trail Operations. That is why we have worked hard over the years to strengthen the operational and environmental performance of every aspect of the smelter.”  The acid plants are part of zinc production processes and convert SO2 (sulphur dioxide) gas into sulphuric acid.  Sulphuric acid is sent to Warfield Operations for use in fertilizer production and it is sold in the open market for other industrial applications.  Technology used in the new builds will further reduce SO2 emissions.  Teck Trail Operations houses one of the world’s largest smelting and refining complexes, which produces refined zinc and lead and a variety of precious and specialty metals, chemicals, and fertilizer products. The smelter employs approximately 1,400 people and has been in operation for over a century.

Aurubis' Bulgarian plant cuts 9-mo output due to shutdowns

September 3 - Hamburg-based copper producer Aurubis said that the concentrate throughput of its Bulgarian plant, located in the town of Pirdop, fell by an annual 19% to 849,000 tonnes in the first nine months of its 2018/2019 financial year, started October 1, 2018.  "Apart from unplanned shutdowns in Q1 2018/19, a planned maintenance shutdown carried out at our Pirdop site in May/June 2019 negatively impacted concentrate throughput," Aurubis said in an interim financial statement last month.  Cathode output at the Pirdop plant decreased by 7% year-on-year to 157,000 t, while sulfuric acid production dropped 21% to 824,000 t. in the first three quarters of the company's 2018/2019 fiscal year.  In the third quarter of Aurubis' 2018/2019 fiscal year, concentrate throughput at Pirdop dropped 37% on the year to 217,000 t, cathode output fell 16% to 47,000 t, while sulfuric acid production was 35% lower at 217,000 t.  The average copper price throughout the first nine months of Aurubis' 2018/2019 financial year was $6,167 (5,636 euro) per tonne, 10% lower year-on-year.
www.
seenews.com


Freeport Confident of Meeting 2023 Smelter Target After Securing $3b Loan Commitment

Freeport Indonesia, the country's largest gold and copper miner, has secured a $3 billion financing commitment from 11 local and foreign banks, putting it a step closer to completing a critical smelter by 2023.  The company must complete the smelter to fulfill its part of the deal with the government to extend operations at its Grasberg mine in Papua until 2041.  "Freeport has obtained loan commitments from 11 banks and this is the first loan since the company started operating," Freeport Indonesia president director Tony Wenas told BeritaSatu over the weekend. He added that three of the lenders are domestic banks.  Freeport Indonesia is currently building a smelter in the Java Integrated Industrial and Ports Estate in Gresik, East Java. It has invested $150 million of its own funds in feasibility studies, engineering services, environmental impact analyses, rental fees and soil maturation for site preparation.  The miner switched its contract of work agreement to a special mining business permit last year after intense negotiations, which saw the Indonesian government becoming the company's majority owner.  The special mining business permit does not allow Freeport Indonesia to export copper concentrate and requires it to build a domestic smelter and establish a mineral refining and processing company within five years of the permit's issuance.  "We believe the construction of the smelter can be completed on time and that it will be operational by December 2023," Tony said.

Freeport Indonesia currently produces about 3 million metric tons of concentrate annually, 1 million of which is now processed by Smelting, a joint venture with Japan's Mitsubishi in Gresik.  Smelting president director Hiroshi Kondo said the company processes about 1.1 million tons of copper concentrate annually, with 100,000 tons of it coming from Amman Mineral, a mining subsidiary of Medco Energy Indonesia in West Nusa Tenggara.  Smelting produces 291,000 tons of copper cathode annually, with byproducts including 1.04 million tons of sulfuric acid, which is used to make fertilizer; 805,000 tons of copper slag, used in the cement industry; 31,000 tons of gypsum, a building material; and 2,000 tons of anode sludge; which contains gold, silver and other precious metals.  State-owned Petrokimia Gresik takes the sulfuric acid from Smelting, while several cement manufacturers process the copper slag.  But Kondo said Smelting only paid out dividends in the past three years, after 23 years of operations, as local market absorption is less than expected.   "One of our considerations in smelter investment in Indonesia is the large Indonesian market. It turns out, most of the cathode must be exported because of the small absorption capacity in the domestic industry," Kondo said.   Smelting's cathode is exported to Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, where it competes with cheaper products from other suppliers.  Tony said Freeport expects its new smelter to face similar challenges. "But this is our commitment," he said.  Tony added that Freeport's smelter plant would produce about 550,000 tons of copper annually and enough anode sludge to allow a third party to produce between 30 and 60 tons of gold and 120 tons of silver per year.


Trafigura takes control of Nyrstar

August 1, 2019 - Trafigura, the Swiss-headquartered commodities trader has taken full control of miner and sulphuric acid producer Nyrstar.  The trading house officially became majority owner on 31 July, and has reinstated financing facilities with Nyrstar’s financial creditors, following a restructuring process.  Forty-year mining industry veteran Daniel Vanin has been appointed CEO of the operating business of Nyrstar with immediate effect, and a new headquarters will shortly be established at Nyrstar’s operations in Budel, the Netherlands.  An employee consultation process was completed in July for Zurich-based staff affected by the news.  Three new bond instruments have been established by Trafigura as part of the restructuring process.  Nyrstar is a major provider of sulphuric acid in Europe and the US.  www.icis.com


Five ex-BASF employees charged with tech theft

T
aoyuan prosecutors yesterday charged five former managers and engineers of the Taiwanese subsidiary of German chemical giant BASF for technology theft and passing the information on to a Chinese competitor.  Former senior manager Huang Yi-lin (黃奕霖), 45, and four others were indicted on charges of breach of trust, along with contravening the Trade Secrets Act (營業秘密法), the Copyright Act (著作權法) and the Criminal Code.  Huang had allegedly recruited other managers and engineers to steal proprietary technology for Jiangyin Jianghua Microelectronics Materials Co in China’s Jiangsu Province, resulting in estimated annual losses of NT$3.5 billion (US$112.6 million at the current exchange rate) for BASF, Taoyuan deputy head prosecutor Yang Ting-hung (楊挺宏) said.BASF Group, headquartered in Germany, set up its Taiwanese subsidiary in 1990, while Jiangyin Jianghua was founded in 2001.  Huang, who headed BASF Taiwan’s global electronics material section in Taoyuan’s Kuanyin Industrial Park, was contacted by executives of Jiangyin Jianghua, including its chairman, surnamed Yin (殷), and vice general manager, surnamed Zhu (朱), who offered him a huge financial reward if he leaked the German firm’s key technology, Yang said.  After agreeing to the deal, Huang founded Yang Yi International Co in June 2017 and recruited four colleagues — surnamed Lin (林), 55; Yu (余), 45; Yeh (葉), 45; and Hsu (許), 44.  The five allegedly targeted the proprietary process for making electronic-grade sulfuric acid and other high-quality chemicals for supply to the semiconductor industry, according to findings by Taoyuan prosecutors and the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB), adding that Huang had allegedly stolen BASF’s piping and instrumentation diagrams and other proprietary files.“It was a case of Chinese industrial espionage focused on new know-how in production and proprietary technologies at Taiwanese and international companies,” Yang said. “Huang and his men were enticed by the money to carry out intellectual property theft for China.”  The investigation found that Huang and his company signed an agreement with Jiangyin Jianghua, which paid him NT$179 million to assist the Chinese firm in setting up an electronic chemical manufacturing plant, as well as helping with marketing and sales.  Although Huang was still working at BASF Taiwan at the time, he collected NT$700,000 as consulting fees from Jiangyin Jianghua.  Huang was reportedly offered an annual salary of NT$14 million, plus bonuses and stock options, to work at the Chinese company’s plant, while his four colleagues were promised annual salaries of between NT$2.8 million and NT$5.5 million.  Surveillance of the men began after a tip-off, and prosecutors and CIB agents arrested the five on Jan. 3 when they returned from a trip to China.  Yang said key technology data and BASF company materials were found in the possession of the five suspects.  Investigators said Huang had sent the proprietary files via e-mails to the Chinese business collaborators from his home computer.  BASF said it is aware that its former employees had been indicted, adding that the company takes the matter seriously and supports the investigation.  It has been protecting related information and had filed a criminal complaint, its office in Taiwan said in a statement.  “At BASF, we do not tolerate such kinds of non-compliant activities,” it said.


Mosaic will close Plant City fertilizer plant

July 4, 2019 - Mosaic has announced that it will permanently close its Plant City fertilizer plant, which has been idled since 2017 because of slowing demand for phosphate.However, some employees will have to remain on site to help decommission one of the plant’s phosphogypsum stacks, a process company officials expect to take several years. To get rid of the water on top of it, the company has been transferring some of it to other facilities every day since 2017, according to spokeswoman Jackie Barron.Such gypsum stacks, built with slightly radioactive material from phosphate processing, loom over the Florida landscape, with a pool of acidic water on top. In 2016, a sinkhole opened beneath a Mosaic gypsum stack in Mulberry, draining the pool on top into the aquifer and setting off a major public health scare and public relations problem for the company.The Plant City plant has two of the stacks, but the first closed in 2004. Started in 1965 on State Road 39 just south of the Hillsborough-Pasco county line, the facility once employed 430 people. It could produce 2 million tons of fertilizer a year from the material dug up in the mines of Central Florida. In its last year, it cranked out only 1.3 million tons.The plant operated at a higher cost than other Mosaic facilities in Florida, and when the global demand for fertilizer began dropping, the company chose to relocate many of its employees and shut it down temporarily.More than 200 employees were offered new spots and 131 opted for early retirement while another 98 took severance packages, Barron said. Now the plant will be closed permanently.“Our decision to close the Plant City phosphate facility reaffirms our commitment to low-cost operation,” Mosaic president and CEO Joc O’Rourke said in a news release sent out by the company.During the second quarter, Mosaic expects to recognize a notable non-cash charge of up to $390 million for the permanent closure of the facility, including asset write-offs and an increase of the asset retirement obligation liability. Annual cash payments to manage the closure of the facility over the next five years are expected to be similar to payments incurred while the plant was idle in 2018.The company news release mentions the possibility of “repurposing part of the facility for productive use,” but offers no details about what that might mean.Mosaic has been working hard to shift its Florida operations southward. Last year, DeSoto County commissioners voted 4-1 to deny the company a zoning change on 18,000 acres that would allow it to open a new mine there. But earlier this year the commissioners voted unanimously to void that vote and let Mosaic come back and try again in four years.The Plant City plant was one Florida facility not targeted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for mishandling hazardous waste. In 2015 Mosaic settled with the EPA for improper storage and disposal of waste from the production of phosphoric and sulfuric acids, key components of fertilizers, at Mosaic’s facilities in Bartow, New Wales, Mulberry, Riverview, South Pierce and Green Bay in Florida, as well as two sites in Louisiana.The EPA said it had discovered Mosaic employees were mixing highly corrosive substances from its fertilizer operations with the solid waste and wastewater from mineral processing, in violation of federal and state hazardous waste laws. www.yoursun.com

Ascension plant's $40M expansion will create 100 construction jobs


June 26, 2019 - Veolia North America said it will spend $40 million to expand its sulfuric acid regeneration plant in Ascension Parish.  The move will retain all 29 employees at the Burnside facility, who have an average salary of $83,000 plus benefits. The work is expected to create about 100 construction jobs. The plant, located in Darrow, takes spent sulfuric acid and converts it to fresh, commercial-quality sulfuric acid. Refineries use sulfuric acid as a catalyst to produce high-octane gasoline.  The expansion involves installing new equipment and upgrading existing equipment, which will result in a 15 percent increase in sulfuric acid regeneration capacity. This will allow Veolia to keep up with a growing demand for acid.  To secure the expansion, the state offered Veolia a comprehensive incentive package that includes a $450,000 modernization tax credit. The company is expected to use the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program.

Freeport to Start Talks With 15 Banks to Finance Unprofitable, but Politically Important New Smelter

May 28, 2019 - Freeport Indonesia, the country's largest gold and copper mining company, will start discussions after Idul Fitri next month with 15 local and foreign banks interested in financing its $2.8 billion unprofitable smelter project, senior executives said.  Freeport has an obligation to build the smelter as part of its deal with the government to extend its permit for the Grasberg mine in Papua until 2041.  "To be honest, I would rather build a 1,000-megawatt power plant in Papua than build the smelter," Freeport Indonesia president director Tony Wenas said late on Monday.  "Whichever way we make it, it would be best if we can get zero [percent] as the smelter's IRR," Tony said, referring to the internal rate of return, an estimation of the profitability of an investment.  Orias Moedak, Freeport Indonesia's vice president director, said the company would talk with banks from Japan, France, Britain, the United States and several local state-owned banks to discuss the financing scheme.  "Because the project itself is unprofitable, we would likely have to opt for corporate financing instead of project financing," Orias said.  That means loan repayments would come from Freeport's operations, which would reduce the dividends paid out to shareholders, instead of being contained within the project.  Still, the smelter project is far from disastrous for Freeport Indonesia, Orias said. "It only means that our future income would be reduced by the $2.8 billion [we will put into the smelter]," he said.  The company is now burning through cash as it needs billions of dollars in investment to shift its operations from open-pit to fully underground. Freeport Indonesia expects its interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to dip to $1.3 billion this year due to the shift, before returning to its usual level of around $4 billion by 2022.  The company estimates that the government, which now owns 51 percent of Freeport Indonesia, still stands to pocket about $40 billion over the next 21 years from dividends taxes and royalties. Indonesia passed a law in 2009 that requires all mining resources to be processed in the country before export. This later became a highly contested point in the Freeport contract extension.  Tony said the smelter only adds 5 percent value to Freeport Indonesia's copper concentrate before export, and that many smelters abroad can do it at a much lower cost. Illustrating his point, Tony said Freeport Indonesia's existing copper smelter arm, known as Smelting, which processes about 1 million tons of concentrate per year in Gresik, East Java, has only paid a dividend once since starting operations in 1997.  But since the company had agreed to the government's terms on building a smelter, Orias and Tony both acknowledged that the project was no longer about the economics.  "This smelter is not a profitable project, but it has become our commitment and obligation under the law. Until now, we have spent $122 million on smelters, so there is no reason to step back," Tony said, adding that it also politically important for Indonesia to see the realization of the smelter.  Freeport Indonesia commissioned Japan's Chiyoda Corporation to construct the smelter. The company has so used some of the money to acquire and prepare 100 hectares of land in the JIIPE industrial complex in Gresik.  The new smelter will process 2 million tons of concentrate per year, Tony said. It will produce copper cathode and several byproducts, including sulfuric acid for fertilizers.  The company has set a target for the new smelter to be operational by 2023 – just in time for its underground mining activities to hit full throttle.  The smelter will require 2,000 workers during the construction phase, but only 500 once it is operational.  https://jakartaglobe.id

Chemetics® joined Worley at the end of April 2019 as part of the acquisition of Jacobs’ Energy, Chemicals and Resources line of business 

April 2019 - Through Chemetics’ research and development lab and custom-built fabrication facility in Canada, global transportation and logistics management capabilities, specialized project teams and worldwide network of trusted suppliers, the company delivers technology and solutions for sulphuric acid and other specialty chemical facilities globally, from greenfield projects to maintenance and turnarounds.  Over the past 50 years, Chemetics’ full life cycle solutions and equipment have enabled more than 800 sulfuric acid plants achieve higher capacities and availability, lower operating costs, decreased emissions and exceptional safety performance.
 

ioneer Ltd Awarded SNC-Lavalin Group the Engineering and Design Contract for the Sulphur Acid Plant

April 3, 2019 - Emerging lithium-boron supplier, ioneer Ltd wants to become a responsible and profitable producer of the materials for an energy efficient future. The company is focused on developing the globally significant Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project in Nevada, USA which has a large deposit of lithium and boron.In an announcement made on 3 April 2019, the company announced that it has awarded SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (SNC) the engineering and design contract for the sulphuric acid plant component of the Rhyolite Ridge Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS). This contract was awarded after a comprehensive bidding process by the leading sulphuric acid plant providers. In the contract bidding process, SNC provided an updated budgetary cost estimate of around US$111 Mn for supply and installation of the sulphuric acid plant. This estimated cost was around US$60 Mn lesser than the US$170 Mn estimated in the Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS) which was completed in October 2018.Managing Director of ioneer, Mr. Bernard Rowe, commented that the cost of the sulphuric acid plant is a key capex driver for the Rhyolite Ridge Project. He further told that this saving of US$60 Mn is significantly improving the already robust project economics demonstrated in the PFS.The reduced capital expenditure estimate for the construction and installation of the sulphuric acid plant has resulted from a change in contracting strategy from lump sum turnkey to an engineering and procurement contract, and a focus on fit for purpose construction and cost optimisations.SNC-Lavalin is an integrated professional services and project management company which is having a longstanding relationship with DuPont Clean Technologies, through MECS® products, technology and design services for sulphuric acid plants. SNC is going to incorporate MECS® best-in-class sulphuric acid production technology from DuPont Clean Technologies (Dupont). It is expected that the acid plant will produce 3500 tonnes per day of sulphuric acid for the leach process. The plant will also produce the steam/heat necessary for the process plant and the excess steam produced from the plant will be used to generate around 50 megawatts per annum of carbon-free electricity.The management of the company is very pleased to know that SNC-Lavalin and Du Pont will be working together with project lead engineers, Fluor, to further strengthen the world-class team that is focused on progressing the DFS for the Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron project, and to deliver the project on budget and on schedule.Today, the company has also released an Investor presentation in which it has informed about the company’s recent achievement and its Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project. The company also informed about the Project Feasibility Study of the Rhyolite Ridge Project which demonstrated strong project economics including annual revenue of $450 million and annual EBITDA of $297 million. The definitive feasibility study of the project is on track to be completed in the third quarter of 2019. https://kalkinemedia.com


Chilean state miner Codelco reports copper production cuts, plunging profits in 2018 

March 28, 2019 - Chilean state miner Codelco produced slightly less copper in 2018 than the year before, the company reported on Friday, as it continued to contend with declining ore grades and rising costs at its aging mines.  Chief Executive Nelson Pizarro said the company produced 1.678 million tonnes of copper at its own mines in 2018, down 3.3 per cent from the previous year, and a total of 1.806-million tonnes, including production from its joint ventures at El Abra and Anglo American South.  Codelco, the world’s top copper producer, reported a 2018 pre-tax profit of US$2.002-billion, down from US$2.885-billion the previous year as production costs rose 2 per cent and the price of copper fell from 2017. Codelco said it also took a one-time deduction for deteriorating assets of nearly $400-million, for a total drop in pre-tax profits of 44.3 per cent.  Pizarro said at a presentation at Codelco’s Santiago headquarters that 18 labor negotiations at its mines had also affected the bottom line but that productivity increases kept costs in line with industry averages.  Pizarro predicted a copper price of US$2.95 per pound for 2019.  Codelco, which produces nearly 10 per cent of the world’s copper, is investing billions of dollars to convert its Chuquicamata mine, its second-largest deposit, from an open pit mine into an underground facility.  Pizarro said the Chuquicamata project was approaching 76-per-cent complete. It is a central part of a 10-year, US$39-billion overhaul of the state miner’s key operations as it seeks to maintain production despite rapidly falling ore grades at its deposits.
On Monday, Codelco cancelled a major contract with SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., another potential blow for the Canadian engineering firm as it battles to move past legal issues tied to corruption allegations.  Codelco terminated a US$260-million contract with Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin because of what it called a “serious breach of contractual milestones” by the Canadian firm in the construction of two sulphuric-acid plants at the giant Chuquicamata copper smelter complex in Chile’s northern Antofagasta region."Among the non-compliances are the delay in payments to its subcontractors, delays in the execution of the project and problems in the quality of the works, among others," Codelco said in a news release translated from Spanish.  The development is another complication in SNC-Lavalin chief executive Neil Bruce’s effort to steer a new course for SNC-Lavalin that involves growing the company to $15-billion in annual sales and adjusted profit of $5 a share by 2020. In addition to the Chilean trouble, he’s been stymied in that effort by criminal bribery and fraud charges against the company related to its past business dealings in Libya, as well as trouble with its oil and gas business.
Codelco Vice President Alejandro Rivera said the company would begin applying in May for the environmental permits it needs to begin exploring for lithium on its Maricunga salt flat holding. Rivera said Codelco hoped to have results from those explorations by the end of 2020.  The company’s lithium projects are off to a slow start. Codelco has yet to find a partner for either its Maricunga or Perdernales project.
www.theglobeandmail.com


PhosAgro to build fertilizer production facility at Metachem site

 

March 27, 2019 - PhosAgro has launched a project to build a new, modern phosphate-based fertilizer production facility and energy plant at its Metachem production site.  Alexander Drozdenko, Governor of the Leningrad region, Viktor Evtukhov, State Secretary and Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade for Russia, and Andrey Guryev, CEO of PhosAgro, took part in the presentation of construction plans for the production and energy complex and the launch ceremony.  Total investment in the project, which PhosAgro will finance with own and borrowed funds, is estimated at RUB 23 billion. The project is due to be completed by 2023.  The project includes the construction of a sulfuric acid production unit with a capacity of 800 ths tpy, a fertilizer production line (including for water-soluble DAP), liquid ammonia storage, a finished product storage warehouse, a 25 MW heat energy generation unit and an overhaul of the extraction phosphoric acid production unit, which will increase output capacity to 500 ths tpy.  Guryev said: “This project is one of the key elements of PhosAgro’s strategy to 2025. In essence, this is an entire new factory that will increase PhosAgro’s total phosphate rock processing capacity by 1 million tpy (currently Metachem processes 300 000 t) as well as increasing the production of phosphate-based fertilizers that achieve high margins due to Metachem’s logistical advantages.  “For PhosAgro as a whole, fertilizer production growth will be more than 7%, while phosphate-based fertilizer output will increase by almost 10%, rising by 630 ths t compared to 2018. Metachem’s output of commercial products such as fertilizers, as well as phosphoric and sulfuric acid will increase by 5 times, creating more than 200 new jobs.”   At nameplate capacity, Metachem’s mineral fertilizer production will exceed 840 000 tpy. This will include the production of MAP, NPK and water-soluble fertilizers used in high-tech agricultural plants for drip irrigation, hydroponics and greenhouse production.  The investment project will utilise best available techniques, as well as solutions from leading Russian and global companies and institutions, including the Y. V. Samoilov Research Institute for Fertilizers and Insectofungicides (NIUIF), which is the only of its kind in Russia and one of the leading agrochemical R&D institutes in Europe. Construction will be carried out by Russian contractors.  The new production facilities will fully comply with the strictest Russian and European environmental legislation. After Metachem became part of PhosAgro in 2012, its environmental safety has gradually increased and its impact on the environment has decreased. Since July 2018, a closed water circulation system has been in successful operation, collecting and purifying all industrial storm water, which is then used in production. The next step is to build a modern chemical water-treatment system. As part of the investment project, there will be a transition to the use of environmentally friendly raw materials such as liquid ammonia.  Integration of the fertilizer production facility with a 25 MW power plant, which utilises high-tech water vapour generation, will significantly reduce the specific energy consumption per tonne of product. This will improve the energy efficiency, resource conservation, environmental impact and productivity of PhosAgro’s Volkhov production site.  Evtukhov said: "The new investment project is fully consistent with the long-term development strategy for the chemical and petrochemical industry in Russia, to modernise existing production facilities and build ones using best available techniques. This project aims to strengthen food security in Russia and increase the competitiveness of domestic fertilizer producers in export markets with high value-added products."  Drozdenko said: “PhosAgro is one of the region’s strategic partners, and its decision to implement another investment project in the Volkhovskiy district indicates that the Regional Government has created conditions that are attractive to investors.

 www.worldfertilizer.com


Codelco terminates the contract with SNC Lavalin and takes control of the works in Chuquicamata


March 25, 2019 - Codelco informed this morning its decision to terminate the contract with SNC Lavalin early on, due to the serious breach of contractual milestones that the company has incurred in the construction of acid plants for the Chuquicamata Smelter, works that are key to adapt the emissions to DS No. 28. Among the non-compliances, are the delay in payments to its subcontractors, delays in the execution of the project and problems in the quality of the works, among others.  Codelco developed six major projects to raise the standard of the Chuquicamata complex, including the construction of two new acid plants, which was awarded in November 2016 to the SNC Lavalin company. The contract for an approximate amount of US$260 million included the detailed engineering, the supply of equipment and the construction and assembly of the same (EPC).  Through a letter sent to the company this morning, the Corporation reproached him for the serious and repeated breach of the obligations imposed by the contract. It should be noted that Codelco made several attempts to resolve the difficulties that the project was experiencing, the last of which was last February.  In the near future, Codelco will begin the transfer of the first new acid plant to the Chuquicamata smelter to begin the empty tests, adjustments and resolution of conditions that guarantee a safe operation.  Subsequently, with an estimated difference of 15 to 20 days, the operation will be normalized with the entry into operation of the second sulfuric acid plant and its review process for each part and adjustments to the set for an adequate operational condition.



Namibia hosts acid conference

 

March 15, 2019 - Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) held its 7th Sulphur and Sulphuric Acid Conference in Swakopmund.  The two-day international event was attended by over 95 representatives and industry leaders from various countries around the world such as Namibia, Zambia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, China, Denmark, Netherlands, USA and Canada.  The aim of the annual conference is to expose delegates to issues relating to the generation and handling of Sulphur, sulphuric acid and Sulphur dioxide reduction within the metallurgical and other industries, and the conference provides an opportunity to introduce new technologies and equipment to producers and consumers of sulphur as well as sulphuric acid and related products in the field.  In addition, the conference enables participants to share information and experience in the application of new technologies, collaborate and provide an opportunity for role players in the industry to discuss common problems and solutions.  In his keynote address Zebra Kasete, President of the Namibian Chamber of Mines and Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb Vice President and Managing Director highlighted the importance of collaboration between the mining and agricultural sectors, highlighting how sulphuric acid can be a catalyst for industrial revolution in Namibia.“The mining industry in Namibia contributes approximately 50 percent of the country’s export revenue and constitutes 12 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The industry-generated revenue of N$29 billion in 2017 of which approximately N$11.76 billion (41 percent) was spent on goods and services procured from Namibian based suppliers. The local spend expenditure demonstrates the industry’s commitment to support local suppliers,” Kasete said.  According to Kasete local procurement is one avenue where previously historically disadvantaged Namibians can participate, meaningfully in the country’s economic activities.  “I accept from the out-set that, we miners are not manufactures and we are not skilled in the same, however, acid producers have a key role to play in sparking the industrial revolution in Namibia. Sulphuric acid production in Namibia, has contributed to the upgrade of the country’s railway line and to increased bulk transportation of chemicals, which come with additional services as well as skills” he said.  The President of the Namibian Chamber of Mines urged sulphuric acid producers to change their mindset from believing that their market is limited to the mining industry.  “I would like to urge, sulphuric acid producers to learn from the diamond industry and consider doing the same. In particular, I would like to encourage everyone, to create opportunities for the fertilizer industry because if Namibia starts producing her own fertilizers, it will increase productivity in agriculture and reduce dependency on imports” Kasete said.  Kasete called on government to develop policies, which encourage collaboration within the agriculture and mining sectors.  “The increase in sulphuric acid consumption will contribute to industry revolution as envisaged in national development policies,” he said.

Fertiliser leader OCP signs up Outotec for sulphuric acid plant EPC 

March 13, 2019 - Outotec has signed a contract with Morocco-based OCP Group for the delivery of a sulphuric acid plant for fertiliser production.  The approximately €80 million ($90.2 million) order has been booked into Outotec’s 2019 March quarter order intake, the company said.  Outotec’s delivery includes the engineering, procurement and construction of the plant, which is based on Outotec’s sulphur burning system. The new acid plant will incorporate advanced proprietary technologies such as HEROS heat recovery system as well as a converter, absorption towers and an acid distribution system that are made of the Edmeston SX stainless steel alloy.  Outotec said: “With more than 20 acid plants and several mining sites, OCP Group is a global fertiliser producer and leader in the phosphate industry. The acid plant will be built in connection with their existing chemical complexes and support in OCP’s fertiliser production from phosphate rock from their mining processes as a raw material.”  Kalle Härkki, Head of Outotec’s Metals, Energy & Water business, said: “Outotec’s sulphuric acid technology has proven to be one of the leading technologies for decades. We are honoured that OCP has selected our design for their new plant.  “With our leading technologies providing benefits such as safety, high reliability and enhanced heat recovery we are happy to help OCP reach their sustainability targets.”
www.im-mining.com

ACS Group to Build 2 of World’s Largest Sulfuric Acid Plants in Morocco

March 7, 2019 - Morocco’s OCP group and Spain’s ACS Group have signed two contracts to build two factories in Jorf Lasfar, 120 kilometers south of Casablanca, which will cost €255 million, approximately MAD 2.8 billion, announced ACS on Tuesday.  The contracts to build the factories “have been awarded by the OCP (Office Chériffien de Phosphates), following a tender process where several international engineering companies have taken part,” said ACS, an international civil and engineering construction company.  Construction on the projects has already begun and will take another two to three years for each before they are ready to operate.  The projects will be two of the largest sulfuric acid plants in the world. ACS will build the facilities and implement the processing of two 5,000 tons of sulfuric acid per day, in addition to implementing basic engineering, detailed engineering, and equipment and material supply works.  The sulfuric acid will be mainly used in the manufacture of granulated phosphate fertilizers. The energy the two plants generate will be used in Jorf Lasfar, “almost eliminating the necessity of resorting to external electrical power.” The plants will also optimize the production of phosphate fertilizers to support the agricultural industry in African mainland countries.  Founded in 1997, the Madrid-based ACS Group is a leading construction company worldwide with projects in many countries, operating in key services and sectors, including telecommunications.  Meanwhile, Morocco’s OCP Group, which holds 75 percent of the world’s phosphate reserves, is one of the leading exporters and producers of raw phosphate, phosphate-based fertilizers, and phosphoric acid in the world.


Wata Chemicals Opens New Plant

March 3, 2019 - Wata Chemicals, a listed company, yesterday opened its second sulfuric acid plant built at an investment of nearly Tk 30 crore.  Sulfuric acid is mostly used in production of fertiliser, in refining water and petroleum and in manufacturing other chemicals such as hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, sulfate salts, synthetic detergents, and dyes and pigments.  “Almost all the industries need sulfuric acid, so they will benefit from the new plant,” said Golam Dastagir Gazi, textiles and jute minister, while inaugurating the plant in Narayanganj.  The plant has created some jobs and will reduce import of the chemical as well, he said, adding that Bangladesh needs more industrial units to become a developed country.  Md Nazrul Islam, managing director of the company, said 25-30 percent of the total demand for sulfuric acid was met by imports currently.  “With the new plant, our production capacity will increase by 30,000 tonnes annually from previous 18,000 tonnes. As a result, the import of the chemical may go down.” The minister said industrialists would have to look after the local community while setting up factories, so that their lives are not affected by industrial pollution.  “Nowadays, new technologies are available which can help reduce industrial pollution. Industrialists are also aware of the technological development.”  Islam says Wata Chemicals is using new technologies so that adjacent farmlands are not affected.  The company supplies the product to battery and fertiliser factories and the water purifying units of the government, said Md Ali Ahsan, chief financial officer of the company.  Wata Chemicals' shares fell nearly 1 percent to Tk 530 on February 27, the last trading day of the week. www.thedailystar.net

ITT Announces Agreement to Acquire Rheinhütte Pumpen Group 

February 22, 2019 - ITT Inc. announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire Rheinhütte Pumpen Group, a market-leading designer and manufacturer of centrifugal and axial flow pumps, from Aliaxis Group S.A.  The acquisition aligns with ITT’s focused growth initiatives in target markets and will enhance the Industrial Process (IP) segment’s strategy with a complementary portfolio of centrifugal pump technologies suited to corrosive, abrasive and high-temperature industrial process environments. The acquisition will bolster IP’s presence in Europe with an expanded product range as well as enhanced pump engineering, manufacturing, testing and channel to market capabilities.  Rheinhütte has a 160-year heritage and is regarded as a leading provider of highly engineered pumps suited for the handling of aggressive media. Rheinhütte solutions serve specialty applications for the chemical, mining, renewable energy and refinery processes and include solutions for sulfuric acid, molten sulfur, fertilizer and chlorine-alkali electrolysis production among others.  “The proposed agreement will bring together two companies with long legacies of application expertise across a range of harsh conditions in the industrial process space,” said ITT CEO and President Luca Savi. “We look forward to leveraging Rheinhütte’s deep engineering capabilities to deliver better solutions for our customers and unlock additional growth in key global markets.”  “This agreement reflects our commitment to delivering a comprehensive value proposition to our customers,” said ITT IP President David Malinas. “The addition of the Rheinhütte Pumpen brand to our current portfolio will broaden our worldwide pump presence. We are excited to join these two teams, leveraging their shared skills and commitment to delivering excellent products for our customers and partners.”  Rheinhütte, which is headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany, anticipates full-year 2018 revenues of approximately $66 million. Rheinhütte has approximately 430 employees and operates in three main manufacturing locations.  The proposed transaction is expected to be accretive to ITT earnings in the first full year after closing. The cash consideration of approximately $91.5 million will be funded from the company’s cash and revolving credit facility and the final purchase price is subject to customary net working capital adjustments. The proposed transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including appropriate regulatory approvals. www.businesswire.com


Brazilian fertilizer firm Heringer restructures, closes plants

January 31, 2019 - Brazilian fertilizer company Fertilizantes Heringer SA has decided to close several of its plants and distribution centers as part of a restructuring plan to lower its debt burden, two sources told Reuters on Thursday.  Heringer, one of the largest players in the Brazilian fertilizer market, sent a message to workers on Thursday in at least 10 installations, including plants and regional offices, advising them that they faced closure, according to a e-mail message seen by Reuters.  In the message, CEO Dalton Carlos Heringer said the restructuring became necessary after some creditors obtained a favorable court decision allowing them to freeze bank accounts to guarantee debt repayment.  Heringer's press office did not confirm the existence of the memo and said it would return a call seeking details. Its investor relations office said company executives were not available for comment as they were in meetings and that the company might send information to market regulator CVM later on Thursday.  Heringer had 2.9 billion reais ($794.17 million) in debt by the end of the third quarter, according to its earnings release. That compares with a market capitalization of 224 million reais, according to Refinitiv data.  A source that deals with fertilizer distributors in Mato Grosso, in the heartland of Brazil's grain belt, said Heringer advised some of those distributors regarding what plants and offices were being closed and which ones would keep operating.  Before the closings, Heringer was operating 16 plants that produce fertilizer from imported materials and one sulfuric acid plant, besides regional offices in the most important agricultural areas in Brazil such as center-west and Matopiba.  It had a capacity to move 6.2 million tonnes of fertilizer per year, used in several types of cultures including soybeans, corn, cotton, coffee and sugar cane.  Heringer shares lost 5 percent in Sao Paulo trading on Thursday.
www.nasdaq.com


Electrozinc to be Mothballed by mid-2019


January 15, 2019 - The Electrozinc plant at Vladikavkaz in southern Russia will be mothballed by mid-2019 and is moving all its raw material and unfinished product inventories to Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant (CZP) and other Urals Mining Metallurgical (UMMC) production sites.
  The move follows December's decison by UMMC and Electrozinc to put the plant under care and maintenance indefinitely, after a fire in late October destroyed the electrolytic workshop, a key link in the production chain. The company previously said rebuilding the workshop could take at least 6-8 months.  UMMC said it will carry out a feasibility study before making a decision on the plant's long-term future.  Since the beginning of December, Electrozinc has shipped 16,200t of zinc concentrate, 10,500t of saleable zinc clinker and 1,500t of unfinished product from the Vladikavkaz site to UMMC's plants in the Urals. It had to temporarily restart the secondary roaster — used to separate zinc tailings into zinc and cadmium-bearing oxides and clinker — and the hydro-metallurgical workshop to bring the material-in-process to the intermediate products stage, at which point it could be transported to another plant.  The remaining stocks will be shipped out before the end of the first quarter, Electrozinc said. During the second quarter, all the plant's facilities will be put under care and maintenance.  Before the fire on 21 October, the plant was operating at 77pc of its 95,000 t/yr zinc production capacity. Cadmium and sulphuric acid production were also running at 77pc of capacity. Output in 2018 was estimated at 73,500t of zinc, 300t of cadmium and 124,000 t/yr of sulphuric acid. Electrozinc has no external contracts, and was supplying all its metals production to UMMC.  Sister company CZP, Russia's largest zinc producer, which is receiving the leftover feedstock, has more than double Electrozinc's capacity for producing zinc and cadmium. But it only has limited scope to offset the loss of Electrozinc production, without expansion. CZP said it has made no decision to expand output at this stage.  CZP produced 191,000t of zinc in 2018 and expects to produce 200,000t this year.  The shutdown of Electrozinc means the group will lose a substantial volume of zinc output, but there has so far been no impact on the zinc spot market premium. Some market participants have voiced concern about potential supply tightness in Russia, given that Electrozinc is one of the country's main producers.  If CZP has to supply more of its by-product cadmium to the domestic market to make up for the loss of Electrozinc production, it could have less available this year to export through tenders.  www.argusmedia.com

 

Ind
ia court clears way for Vedanta Smelter restart 

January 8, 2019 - India's Supreme Court has cleared the way for diversified copper producer Vedanta to reopen its Sterlite Copper smelter in Tamil Nadu, after it refused to stay an order for its closure by the provincial government.  The interim ruling "paves the way for the Sterlite Copper plant to reopen" and the company will now file an application to environmental regulator to operate the smelter, a Vedanta spokesman said. The plant has a production capacity of 1.1mn t/yr of sulphuric acid.  India's environmental court the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered the restart of the smelter on 17 December, subject to certain environmental protection measures. The Tamil Nadu government appealed this ruling.  Indian sulphuric acid buyers are upbeat on the restart of the smelter. Some market participants now anticipate that a April start-up could be realistic.  The impact of the Sterlite Copper smelter's shutdown on the domestic sulphuric acid market has been significant because of limited supply options in the region. The operator declared a force majeure on sulphuric acid deliveries following the closure, which pushed consumers into the international spot market for not only sulphuric acid but also sulphur and finished fertilizer products.  Indian sulphuric acid imports reached 1.4mn t in 2018, according to Argus analysis, up by 59pc from 2017.
www.argusmedia.com