Ma’aden reaches milestone on $6.4bn phosphate project
Saudi Arabian mining company Ma’adenhas completed utilities commissioning on a $900mn ammonia plant in Ras Al-Khair industrial City. Construction completion is expected in the fourth quarter of 2021, with full activation in Q1 2022.
The ammonia plant is the first project in the $6.4bn ‘Phosphate 3’ expansion to Ma’aden’s phosphate fertilizer portfolio, which encompasses the full mine-to-market development process of phosphate fertilizers.
Abdulaziz Al Harbi, CEO, Ma’aden
Ma’aden CEO Abdulaziz Al Harbi commented: “This is a tremendous milestone for our phosphate portfolio. The ammonia plant expansion will add over 1 million tonnes ammonia production to reach 3.3 million tonnes, making Ma’adenone of the largest ammonia producers east of the Suez Canal”.
The ‘Phosphate 3’ expansion will add 3 million tonnes of phosphate fertilizer production capacity to Ma’adenportfolio, bringing that to a total production capacity of more than 9 million tonnes. This will make Ma’adenone of the top three global phosphate fertilizer producers and Saudi Arabia the second largest phosphate fertilizer exporter worldwide.
“We have been moving ahead with the construction during the COVID-19 pandemic and thanks to the dedication of the Ma’adenteam and our partners, construction has been completed for the utility section and pre-commissioning activities started,” added Al Harbi.
“Safety has remained a priority for us throughout the project and I am pleased to say that over 4,000 employees invested 14 million+ safe man hours to deliver the construction on the Ammonia 3 project over 32 months.”
Ma’aden is among the top three producers of phosphate fertilizers in the world
Ma’adenbegan commercial production of fertilizers in 2011 and has since become one of the top three largest producers of phosphate fertilizers globally, catering to the biggest fertilizer markets and meeting the food requirements of hundreds of millions of people. Ma’adenis committed to empowering farmers by providing high quality products that improve crop quality and yield and supporting Saudi Arabia’s contribution to achieving global food security in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Ma’aden’s mine-to-market phosphate business consists of three mega projects in Saudi Arabia: Wa’ad Al Shamal – the center of the Saudi phosphate industry; Ras Al Khair, a phosphate and bauxite processing superhub; and Phosphate 3. In 2019, Ma’adenexpanded the reach of its phosphate business in sub-Saharan Africa through the acquisition of fertilizer distribution company Meridian Group, enabling faster and better service for local customers in Africa.
Ma'aden is making a commitment to sustainability
In line with Ma’aden’s sustainability commitment, phosphate operations at Ras Al Khair Industrial City draw all its process water from one of the world’s largest desalination plants and utilize a natural engineered wastewater treatment (NEWT) system. Around 60-80% of the treated water gets reused as process water and the rest for local landscape irrigation.
The resulting “artificial wetland” created by NEWT has proven to be a sustainable and effective natural method to treat wastewater on municipal and industrial levels, and as an added benefit, has become an important habitat for wildlife, especially shore birds, in line with Saudi Arabia’s commitment to combat climate change under the Saudi Green Initiative.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.