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Sulphuric Acid on the WebTM Technical Manual DKL Engineering, Inc.

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Acid Plant Database  February 11, 2021

Owner Ambatovy

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10 km south of Tamatave


40%    Sheritt International Corporation
27.5% Sumitomo Corporation
27.5% Korean Resources Corporation
5%     SNC-Lavalin

Website www.ambatovy.com
Plant Ambatovy Project
Plant No. 1 Plant No. 2
Coordinates* 18° 11' 50" S, 49° 21' 27" E 18° 11' 51" S, 49° 21' 29" E
Type of Plant Sulphur Burning Sulphur Burning
Gas Source Elemental Sulphur – Bulk Elemental Sulphur – Bulk
Plant Capacity 2750 MTPD 2750 MTPD
Emissions - -
Status Operating Operating
Year Built 2010 2010
Technology Noram Engineering and Constructors Inc. Noram Engineering and Constructors Inc.
Contractor Bateman Africa (Pty) Limited Bateman Africa (Pty) Limited
Remarks - -

Junye (China): Acid tower, sulphur furnace, cold interpass HX, pump tank, stack
Metso ND (South Africa): Converter
Sinopec Nanjing Design Institute (SNDI) (China): Waste heat boiler, economiser, superheater, de-superheater

Dimensions: Diameter = 14.5 m, Height = 24 m

Pictures Ambatovy-Site-1.jpg (158504 bytes)  Ambatovy-Site-2.jpg (160212 bytes)  Ambatovy 3.jpg (167289 bytes)  Ambatovy-8.JPG (59149 bytes)  Ambatovy-13.jpg (16270 bytes)  Ambatovy-12.jpg (124849 bytes)  Ambatovy-10.JPG (50028 bytes)       
Converter Fabrication and Transportation

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Video An Introduction to Ambatovy
An Introduction to Ambatovy - 13 min English Version
3D Video Overview of Plant Site

The Ambatovy project is a world-class, large-tonnage, long-life mining venture in Madagascar that is positioned to be the world’s biggest lateritic nickel mine by 2013. Developed under Madagascar’s Large Mining Investment Act, the Ambatovy project is the country’s largest capital project to date. Construction is progressing well, with initial production expected in 2010.

Nickel: 60,000 tonnes
Cobalt: 5,600 tonnes
Ammonium Sulphate: 190,000 tonnes


1. www.sarens.com
2. www.njncc.com    Nanjing Chemical Construction Co., Ltd.
3. Bateman Globe. The Newsletter of Bateman Engineering N.V., No. 74, February 2009
4. Vorster, W. and Hughes, M., "Engineering Challenges Encountered During the Shipping of Two Conveters to Madagascar for the Ambatovy Project", Presented at AIChE Clearwater Convention, 2009.

News August 7, 2020 - Korea Resources Corporation is speeding up to sell its stake in a nickel mine in Madagascar to potential investors to tackle a years-long liquidity problem.  The state-run resources explorer is in the middle of contacting deal managers and advisors with an aim to select a preferred negotiator for the asset by the end of September, according to sources on Thursday.  The company’s asset to be put on sale is its 33 percent stake in the Ambatovy nickel and cobalt mine venture, which is jointly owned by Posco International (5.87 percent) and STX (1 percent). The other two Korean partners are expected to exit the business, but whether other shareholders – Japan’s Sumitomo (47.67 percent) and Canada’s Sherritt (12 percent) – will join the move remains unknown.  The Ambatovy joint venture involves the extraction and processing of nickel and cobalt from a mine in the middle-eastern part of Madagascar. Commercial production began in 2012 in the mine whose raw ores are estimated to reach 146.20 million tons.  The mine’s annual producible ores are 60,000 tons of nickel and 5,600 tons of cobalt. Ambatovy produced 33,736 tons of finished nickel and 2,897 tons of finished cobalt in 2019.  The Ambatovy project drew attention from around the world for its staggering fund injection of $8.9 billion in total.  But the delayed business exit has brought a growing financial burden to Korea Resources Corporation whose operating loss hit 505.1 billion won ($425 million) last year alone. Most of the loss came from the Ambatovy business.  Korea Resources Corporation is also attempting to sell stakes in other overseas mine projects to get out of a liquidity crunch, but little progress has been made.

March 27, 2020
- Japanese trading house Sumitomo has temporarily halted operations at its nonferrous metals mining projects in Bolivia and Madagascar in line with enforced precautionary measures to prevent the coronavirus from further spreading.  Sumitomo said it has decided to temporarily suspend the Minera San Cristobal zinc-lead-silver project in Bolivia and the Ambatovy nickel project in Madagascar to ensure the safety of their workers. Both countries' governments have imposed strict measures to rein in the spread of the coronavirus, making it difficult for the company to secure transportation for workers and disrupting logistics.  The San Cristobal mine is producing around 1,300 t/d of zinc concentrates and 300 t/d of lead concentrates. Sumitomo in 2006 originally bought a 35pc share in San Cristobal before wholly acquiring the project in 2009.  Sumitomo prior to the closure projected its production at San Cristobal at 202,000t and 47,000t respectively of zinc and lead contained in concentrates for the April 2019-March 2020 fiscal year, down by 2pc and 31pc from 2018-19.  Sumitomo in February this year revised down its 2019-20 output target for Ambatovy, citing a delayed restart after November 2019 maintenance. The firm's share of Ambatovy nickel output is projected at 17,600t in 2019-20, up by 5pc from 2018-19. Sumitomo has a 47.67pc share of Ambatovy.  Many countries are stepping up measures to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, significantly affecting mining operations. Japan's JX Nippon Mining & Metals and Mitsui Mining & Smelting have also reported disruptions at their mining operations in Chile and Peru.

September 16, 2019
- Madagascar-based nickel and cobalt producer Ambatovy will shut down for planned maintenance in November.   Its plant, which is 11km south of the port of Toamasina in eastern Madagascar, will shut for two weeks in November for the first part of the planned maintenance. This will be followed by a partial shutdown for the second stage of the shutdown, which will also last for two weeks.  Ambatovy produced 35,473t of nickel briquette and 3,053t of cobalt in 2017. When fully operational, the plant is expected to produce 60,000t of nickel and 5,600t of cobalt, but it is unclear when it will reach full capacity.  This shutdown will occur ahead of the Indonesian nickel ore export ban from January 2020, which could further tighten nickel supply globally.  Ambatovy is a joint venture involving three companies — Canada's Sherritt International, Japan's Sumitomo Corp and South Korea's Korea Resources Corporation.  As a result of Sherritt's operation in Cuba and the US's commercial, economic and financial embargo against the country, many firms are unable to purchase nickel from the firm.  The Madagascar operation has two sulphur burners linked to its nickel production, which have the capacity to consume around 500,000 t/yr of sulphur. Ambatovy was looking to secure three cargoes of sulphur to cover its fourth-quarter demand of around 150,000t, but may now defer one cargo to early 2020 because of the maintenance works.  The company around two weeks ago purchased one 45,000-50,000t cargo loading at Jubail in Saudi Arabia at the end of September and will secure a second cargo under contract.

December 17, 2010 - The total cost for the Ambatovy nickel laterite project in Madagascar is now pegged at $4,76-billion, including a contingency of $50-million, operator Sherritt International said on Friday.  The capital cost estimate for construction of the mine was last increased in 2009 to $4,52-billion, from a previous figure of $3,4-billion.   Sherritt said Ambatovy is still expected to start production by mid-2011.  The Canadian firm owns 40% of the project, Sumitomo and a consortium led by Korea Resources each have a 27,5% stake in the mine, and the project's engineering contractor, SNC-Lavalin, also has a 5% interest.  Sherritt said it will fund its 40% share of the capital cost increase directly. The company has funded a large portion of its share of Ambatovy costs from loans provided by its partners.  “We have thoroughly reviewed every facet of this project and I am confident the required steps have been taken to keep it on track to produce metal by the summer of 2011,” CEO Ian Delaney said in a statement.  “While the variance from our original capital projection is 5%, we felt the steps taken were necessary to ensure that the plant will operate as designed, and that we can ramp up production at a rate which will enable nickel to be delivered to customers as early as possible."  Once in full production, the Ambatovy mine is expected to produce 60 000 t/y of nickel and 5 600 t/y of cobalt.  Sherritt also has nickel, gas, oil and electricity generation assets in Cuba and coal operations in Canada and announced this month it would buy 57,5% of Rio Tinto's Sulawesi nickel project in Indonesia.

Sherritt 2nd Q 2010 report - Ambatovy Project capital expenditures for second-quarter 2010 were $297.3 million (100% basis), 9% ($29.5 million) lower than the prior-year period. Total cumulative project expenditures to June 30, 2010 were US$4.0 billion, excluding financing charges, foreign exchange and working capital requirements, and represent approximately 89% of the projected total project expenditures. The Corporation expects project spending to remain within the US$4.52 billion estimate. During the quarter, demobilization of civil and earthworks personnel began, as facilities at the mine site, port and sulphuric acid plant were completed. During second-quarter 2010, the construction of the power plant, which is being executed under a turn-key contract, was identified as having high potential for delay in completion. Sherritt and the EPCM contractor are now providing assistance to the power plant contractor to ensure scheduled commissioning dates are achieved. During second-quarter 2010, $199.6 million (100%) was provided by the Ambatovy Partners and $69.9 million was drawn on the senior project financing to finance project expenditures. Sherritt financed $51.6 million of its $79.8 million funding obligation through loans from other joint venture partners. Agreements for the additional partner loans were entered into during the global financial crisis in June 2009. With improving economic conditions, Sherritt has agreed in principle to provide at least US$80 million in direct pro-rata shareholder funding prior to further drawdowns on the additional partner loans. Consequently, Sherritt will receive a proportionate share of distributions from the Ambatovy Project. The Project is designed to produce 60,000 tonnes (100% basis) of nickel and 5,600 tonnes (100% basis) of cobalt annually at capacity. Mechanical completion is expected in early 2011.

November 27, 2008 - Sherritt International Corp. and its partners are “initiating steps” to significantly reduce the cost of the $3.2-billion Ambatovy nickel project in Madagascar.  The Toronto-based company — which had indicated last month that it was rethinking all its spending plans — provided no specific cost-reduction targets Tuesday.  But Sherritt, which owns 40 per cent of the project, said it will likely slow down work on the project in order to find savings in light of reduced global demand and metals prices.
“In addition to reducing costs through contract renegotiations of most material contracts, Sherritt will be pursuing reductions through deferrals of capital spending and changes in construction methodology,” the company said.
“Sherritt and its partners also intend to work with the Government of Madagascar to ensure that anticipated changes in construction methodologies maximize the use of Malagasy labour, contractors and other local resources.”
Ambatovy is one of the largest nickel developments in the world.  The company said Sherritt and its partners, Sumitomo Corp. of Japan, Korea Resources Corp. and Montreal-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin remain committed to completing Ambatovy.
“However, changing market conditions and lower commodity prices in recent weeks have necessitated implementation of strategies to realize the benefit of significant reductions in construction materials, freight costs and labour rates.”

MTPD - Metric Tonne per Day           STPD - Short Ton per Day
MTPA - Metric Tonne per Annum      STPA - Short Ton per Annum
SA - Single Absorption
DA - Double Absorption

* Coordinates can be used to locate plant on Google Earth