Sichuan quake hits China phosphate fert output

14 May 2008 15:45  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--The earthquake that hit the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan is reported to have seriously damaged several phosphate fertilizer plants, sources said on Wednesday.

Phosphate factories, including those of Sichuan Hongda, Ying Feng and Longmon, with a combined capacity of nearly 1m tonnes/year of phosphate fertilizers had been severely damaged.

“We’re getting reports of ammonia leaks and sulphur explosions,” said one US source.

Separate reports indicated that the Sichuan Hongda plant, located close to the epicentre of the quake near Wenchuan to the north of the province, may have collapsed. It is reported to have a capacity of 500,000 tonnes/year of phosphate fertilizers.

Ying Feng, which reportedly produces 300,000 tonnes/year of diammonium phosphate (DAP) and monoammonium phosphate (MAP), was also reported to have collapsed.

Longmon was thought to produce around 100,000 tonnes/year of phosphates. The state of the plant was unknown.

“Phosphate rock mines have been seriously damaged and rail logistics hampered,” the source added.

Sichuan province accounts for around 7% of China’s phosphate fertilizer output, the source said.

Major Chinese phosphate producers Kailin and Wengfu, located around 800km south of the earthquake epicentre, reported no effect on output.

“What this will do is steel the government’s resolve to stop any exports of DAP and MAP through to the end of the year,” said a source.

China recently imposed a 135% export duty on phosphate fertilizers to bolster domestic supply, in the process significantly tightening global supply of DAP and MAP.

The plan was to reduce the tax at the end of September, but reduced output domestically may encourage the government to extend the tax or find another way to reduce exports, sources said.

Almost 15,000 people have been killed in the massive earthquake which struck Sichuan on Monday, with another 25,788 still buried and a further 14,051 missing, reports said.

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By: Mike Nash
+44 20 8652 3214

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