The project is part of one of the largest integrated phosphate-based fertiliser complexes in
the world.

Speaking at the MEED Middle East and North Africa Fertilisers conference held in Abu Dhabi on 4 December, Khaled Mudaifer, vice-president for industrial affairs at Maaden, said the contract is to be signed on 17 December.

The value of the lump-sum turnkey contract is $350m, with work to start in early April 2008 and a completion date of early May 2010.

The plant will remove calcium and magnesium carbonates from the phosphate deposit run-of-mine ore.

It will produce 5.1 million tonnes a year (t/y) of dry phosphate concentrate to be taken by rail to the phosphate and fertiliser complex at Ras al-Zour.

The contract is one of the last to be signed in the development of Maaden’s massive fertiliser project, which is set to produce 2.9 million t/y of diammonium phosphate when completed.

Speaking about the project Mudaifer said it was “well-suited” to satisfy the growing demand for fertilisers in nearby countries. “Our primary targets are India, Pakistan and China,” he added.

Hongfu’s work includes all professional and technical services, labour, equipment and materials required to engineer, procure, construct, commission and performance test the treatment plant.

Mudaifer also announced plans to establish a company within Maaden to develop infrastructure at Ras al-Zour. The wholly owned subsidiary, Infraco, may also undertake work at Al-Jalamid.

Speaking to MEED on the sidelines of the conference, Mudaifer said that delays to the north-south railway project linking the Jalamid mine to the complex at Ras al-Zour were minor, affecting only one section of the project.

He did not expect these to significantly delay progress on the railway’s construction, scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2010.

Mudaifer also confirmed Maaden’s privatisation plans.

A total of 50 per cent of the company is set to be offered to investors in an initial public offering (IPO) in early 2008.

In the $2.5bn IPO, 40 per cent of the state-owned company will be offered to local investors and the remaining 10 per cent split between two pension funds (MEED 12:10:07).

The contract for the power and desalination plant at Ras al-Zour, won by a consortium of South Korea’s Hanwah Engineering & Construction and Hyundai Engineering, will also be signed on 17 December (MEED 03:12:07).