Jordan’s APC eyes new $750m potash expansion project

02 October 2012 15:16  [Source: ICIS news]

(recasts, clarifying quote in fifth paragraph)

DUBLIN (ICIS)--Jordan-based fertilizer producer Arab Potash Company (APC) will decide shortly whether to go ahead with a $750m (€614.5m) expansion project that would boost potash output by 700,000 tonnes/year, a senior executive said on Tuesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the annual IFA Production and International Trade Conference in Dublin, APC chairman Jamal Ahmad Al-Sarayrah said a feasibility study into the proposed expansion of its existing complex in southern Ghor, Jordan, was progressing well, although rising energy costs could derail the plans.

If given the green light, the plant would take around two years to construct and come online in several phases, Al-Sarayrah said, adding that the additional 55,000-60,000 tonnes a month of potash would all be for export.

“We hope to make a decision by the end of 2012 or in early 2013,” he said. “Six months ago, we commissioned an independent firm to carry out a project feasibility study and we expect to learn the results shortly.

“The new plant would increase output by 700,000 tonnes/year and cost somewhere in the region of $750m. Recent rises in the cost of energy by the government are a concern but it’s the same for all companies in Jordan, not just us,” he added

Al Sarayrah added the proposed plant would help satisfy growing global demand for potash, with APC seeing “great potential” for fertilizers in Africa.

“We are hoping demand will develop in Africa in the medium term,” he said. “Africa needs fertilizer and we see great potential for potash across the continent.”

Al Sarayrah also confirmed that a near month-long strike earlier this year by workers over pay and conditions would reduce APC’s annual output by up to 10%. The company – partly owned by Canada’s Potash Corp – normally produces and exports 2m tonnes/year of potash.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Richard Ewing
+44 208 652 3214

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