Sinochem deal set to further boost growth in phosphate production

16 September 2005
China's Sinochemsigned on 4 September a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with state-owned Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP) for a joint venture (JV) to supply fertiliser to China and conduct a feasibility study on a new phosphoric acid plant at Jorf Lasfar. Under the five-year supply agreement, OCP will supply 750,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) to Sinochem from 2007-11.

The DAP will be sourced from a new 850,000-t/y plant due to come on stream at Jorf Lasfar by early December. The existing four DAP units at Jorf Lasfar are also being revamped. Two units have been completed, with a third due for completion by the end of 2005 and the fourth by the end of March 2006. OCP is carrying out the rehabilitation, with construction packages on the new plant being carried out by more than 20 local firms. Engineering work on both projects is being carried out by the US' Jacobs Engineering.

A 50:50 JV agreement between OCP and Brazil's Bongi is expected to be concluded in October, following the signing of an MoU between the two companies in July. The JV will involve the construction of a new phosphates complex at Jorf Lasfar to produce 365,000 t/y of phosphoric acid and a fertiliser plant producing DAP, triple super phosphate (TSP) and other products. Tenders for engineering and construction work on the two projects, worth an estimated total of $250 million, are expected to immediately follow the signing of the JV, with awards set for the end of the year. Construction is expected to take 30 months and be complete in mid-2008.

Construction is due to begin in December on the estimated $200 million phosphoric acid project at Jorf Lasfar being carried out by a 50:50 JV of OCP and Pakistan's Fauji Group. The plant, which will produce 375,000 t/y of phosphoric acid and 1.5 million t/y of sulphuric acid, is set to come on stream in the first quarter of 2007. Jacobs is conducting engineering work on the phosphoric acid plant, with Monsanto, also of the US, carrying out engineering on the sulphuric acid facility (MEED 28:1:05).

Morocco is the largest phosphates exporter in the world and the third largest producer. The planned new facilities will take the kingdom's production of phosphoric acid to more than 4 million t/y.

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