IM Agriminerals News in Brief 30 January – 5 February

By Myles McCormick
Published: Friday, 05 February 2016

Production steady across the board for Uralchem in 2015; Black Mountain and Guangzhou DongSong push forward with Ugandan phosphate projects.

Russia’s Uralchem OJSC produced 62,000 tonnes monoammonium phosphate (MAP) in 2015, a 150% increase from 2014. However, the prior year’s output figures had been reduced by 90% as a result of the closure of the Voskresenek phosphate plant.

The company’s ammonium nitrate output remained stable at 2.93m tonnes. Merchant ammonia production rose 6% to 825,000 tonnes, while urea production was up 7% to 1.19m tonnes. Complex fertiliser production, meanwhile, stood at 617,000 tonnes, up 18% year-on-year (y-o-y).

Dmitry Konyaev, Uralchem’s CEO, said: "In spite of the complex situation in both the industry and the economy in general, we closed the year with a good performance. Uralchem continued to increase its production and strengthened its position in the market."

"Last year, particular attention was paid to the domestic market (…) This year we plan to continue working closely with domestic agricultural producers," he added.

In Africa, ASX-listed Black Mountain Resources Ltd has entered into an agreement to buy Namekera Mine Co. Ltd from African Phosphate Pty Ltd.

The deal will give Black Mountain ownership of the Busumbi phosphate project Namakera vermiculite mine and in Uganda.  

Busumbu was intermittently operational for a 20-year period ending in the 1960s. Drilling at the project by Gulf Industrials Ltd in 2012 confirmed high grade and extensive phosphate mineralisation, the company said, yielding grades of up to 30.5% phosphorous pentoxide (P2O5).

Also in Uganda, China’s Guangzhou DongSong Energy Group Co. has signed a $240m financial closure agreement with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to develop the Sukulu phosphate project, local media sources have reported.

Guangzhou DongSong intends to establish a mine and beneficiation plant with a capacity of 2m tpa and a phosphate fertiliser plant with an output of 300,000 tpa.

The project will be one of the largest privately-funded mining sector investments in Uganda.

In Asia, Malaysian Phosphate Additives (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd expects to commission a proposed Malaysian Ringgit (RM) 1.9bn ($460m*) phosphate additives plant in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu by mid-to-late 2018, local media has reported.

The project will be Southeast Asia’s largest integrated phosphate additives complex, housing nine different plants to produce food, fertiliser and halal feed phosphates.

At full capacity it will produce 500,000 tpa phosphate products, 900,000 tpa coke and 100,000 tpa ammonia.

New Zealand’s Chatham Rock Phosphate Ltd has said it still intends to reapply for a license to mine the seabed off Chatham Rise on the country’s east coast for phosphate nodules.

The company is currently preparing for a court action with the Environmental Protection Agency over disputed fees from a previous unsuccessful case, which it has described as "unreasonable and unlawful".

The Chatham Rise has been subject to an environmental consenting regime since 2012.

Finally, Canada’s Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (PotashCorp) was dropped from the Standard and Poors (S&P) TSX Canadian Dividend Aristocrats Index a week after being added, in the wake of its release of a poor outlook for 2016 as fertiliser prices remain weak, the Globe and Mail has reported.

PotashCorp was named to the index in late January in recognition of its track record for increasing dividend payments, but the company has cut dividends this year amid its bleakest forecast in a decade, causing the S&P Index Committee to reverse its decision almost immediately.