The rehabilitation was given a high priority after the collapse in March 2000 of an adjacent dyke. APC has been in dispute with UK consultant Jacobs Gibband Turkish contractor ATAover the cause of the collapse. In July, Jacobs Gibb agreed to pay APC $13.4 million as part of a settlement agreement that saw the client drop a number of other claims against the consultant.

APC’s board of directors will decide in December whether to proceed with a proposed $150 million expansion of its production facilities. The expansion would see a 25 per cent increase in capacity to about 2.4 million tonnes a year (t/y) from about 1.9 million t/y in 2008. The scheme includes the addition of a new 450,000-t/y cold crystallisation plant, debottlenecking of the existing plants, rehabilitation of dyke 18 and changing some of the existing salt pans to carnellite pans. Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners)is the consultant. Sources at APC say a further 500,000-t/y expansion, involving construction of a new southern pond, is being considered although its fate will depend on the progress of the current expansion (MEED 23:7:04).