Saudi Arabia mining firm plans to add 1.5 million tonnes to annual phosphate capacity
State-controlled Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) is conducting a feasibility studies for an expansion of its phosphate mining activities at the Al-Khabra deposit near Turaif in the north of the kingdom.
If the studies are satisfactory, Maaden plans an open cast mine and simple beneficiation process to separate minerals from waste at the site, and would add almost 1.5 million tonnes to the company’s phosphate capacity. The phosphate will then be sold into both domestic and international markets.
“The feasibility study currently under way will evaluate the viability of the project to supply phosphate intermediate products to augment Maaden’s phosphate product mix,” says Khaled Mudaifer, Maaden’s vice-president, phosphates.
Mudaifer declines to set a timeline for the development until the initial study was complete.
“It would not be appropriate to suggest a timetable for development until after the study is completed,” he says.
The measured reserves of the Al-Khabra deposit are believed to stand at 234 million tonnes. Maaden also revealed that due to the low heavy metal content of the phosphate means the mineral can be used for the food and feed industries.