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

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Acid Plant Database   April 29, 2020

Owner Zimbabwe Phosphate Industries Limited (ZimPhos)

Zimphos-Logo.gif (4145 bytes)

Location 1930 - Company established
Background Member of Chemplex Corporation Group of Companies
Website www.chemplex.co.zw
www.zimphos.co.zw Link no longer active
Plant Pyrites Plant Sulphur Burning Plant
Coordinates* 17° 51' 14" S, 31° 7' 53" E -
Type of Plant Metallurgical Sulphur Burning
Gas Source Pyrite Elemental Sulphur
Plant Capacity 150 MTPD
1988: Upgraded to 250 MTPD
SA/DA - -
Status Unknown, Possibly Shutdown Idle
Year Built - -
Technology MECS -
Contractor LTA Chemical & Environmental -
Remarks - -
General Established in 1930, ZimPhos manufactures mainly acids (sulphuric and phosphoric), super phosphates, stock feeds and water treatment chemicals, and other industrial chemicals.

Zimbabwe Phosphate Industries (ZimPhos) has been in operation since 1928. At its factory in Msasa in Harare, the company produces super phosphates, sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid, aluminium sulphate, silicate solutions, ammonia solutions and packed anhydrous ammonia. The super phosphates and phosphoric acid are manufactured from phosphate rock and sulphuric acid with the phosphate rock coming from Dorowa mine. ZimPhos produces the sulphuric acid in two separate plants with one using imported sulphur and another using local pyrites (iron sulphide) from Iron Duke Mine. Some of the sulphuric acid is sold to the mining sector for minerals extraction as well as to other manufacturing sectors. The bulk of the acid is however used for super phosphates manufacture. These super phosphates are used primarily in the local manufacture of granular NPK compound fertilizers. Gypsum is produced at ZimPhos as a byproduct of phosphoric acid manufacture and is used for agricultural purposes as well as for cement, plaster and ceiling board manufacture. Aluminium sulphate is used extensively as a municipal water treatment chemical within Zimbabwe and regionally. 
References -
News Novemeber 1, 2019 - Fertilizer and chemical manufacturer, Chemplex Corporation, is seeking Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) approval to sell some of its assets in US dollars to raise $10 million to complete a sulphuric acid plant at Zimphos, one of its subsidiaries.  Chemplex runs companies in the fertiliser and chemical value chain including Zimphos, Sable Chemicals and the Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company.  Chemplex chief executive officer, Tapiwa Mashingaidze, said the plant was 30 percent complete but the project was being hampered by a lack of foreign currency.  “We have got a plan as Zimphos to, with Reserve Bank permission, sell some of our real estate at Zimphos in US dollars specifically for the purpose of raising funds to finish the sulphuric acid plant project, that is work in progress,” he said.  “For the sulphuric acid plant we are trying to raise another US$10 million to finish it. “The project has been stretched out overtime, we should have finished this project maybe two years ago but we have been struggling to get forex to complete it but I think now we have got a plan that might help us finish it.”  Mashingaidze said if RBZ approval is secured this year, the company hoped to complete the sulphuric acid plant during the course of 2020 or early 2021.  “That will contribute directly to saving the country forex and also ensuring that we do not have this continuous cycle of fertiliser shortages linked to forex shortages,” he said.  “The plant that we are talking of will produce 250 tonnes per day of sulphuric acid. Of that, maybe about two thirds of sulphuric acid we will be converting to fertilizer phosphates that is Single Superphosphate (SSP), so each tone of sulphuric acid will give us two tonnes of SSP.  “The other one third of the plant’s output will be going to production of water treatment chemicals.”  Meanwhile, Mashingaidze said the company’s other subsidiary, Sable Chemicals required US$30 million per year to utilise its production capacity.  “Sable chemicals historically had capacity to produce 240 000 tons of ammonium nitrate and that was almost equal to local demand of nitrogen. However, because of the power problem of 4-5 years ago, the electrolysis plant on which Sable’s ammonia production was based was closed and that immediately halved Sable’s capacity to 120 000 tons, which is the capacity that they talk of now, but to utilise even that capacity Sable requires something around US$30 million per year for that capacity to be utilised.  “It has been struggling to get that, in fact they got one tenth of that in 2018, they got US$ 3 million. That restricts their output and yet as a country we spent US$100 million in 2018 alone on ammonium nitrate (imports).  “We think we could have shifted the balance more if Sable was supported with US$30 million.”

January 30, 2018
- The Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe is looking for partners for its subsidiary, Chemplex Corporation Limited, which is into manufacturing and mining.In an invitation for an expression of interest for financial advisory services, IDC said it wanted an investor to inject additional capital, bring technology and open new market avenues for the company.  “The Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe is inviting expression of interest for the provision of financial advisory for the investor search and dilution of IDCZ’s 100 percent shareholding in Chemplex Corporation Limited on a success basis.“The investor is expected to inject additional capital into the business, bring in new technology and access to wider markets for the business,” said IDCZ. The IDCZ is the industrial investment arm of the government, targeting mainly the manufacturing sector. Chemplex Corporation is involved in mining and manufacturing.Chemplex Corporation beneficiates phosphate rock used in the manufacture of fertilizers, and produces sulphuric acid which is then converted to industrial chemicals.It currently controls about 70 percent of the fertilizer industry and the whole phosphates value chain. But the company has been hit by financial challenges, which have also affected its subsidiaries such as Dorowa Minerals. Other subsidiaries of the company are Chemplex Animal and Public Health, Chemplex Marketing, GD Haulage and ZimPhos.

November 23, 2017
- Zimphos is set to complete its plant facelift as the company expects an additional $2,2 million from Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in addition to the $5 million that has already been disbursed.During a tour of the company by Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha about three years ago, the company’s facilities had become so dilapidated and the whole complex resembled a ghost town. But with the injection of new capital there has been a massive change in terms of outlook and operational efficiencies.Zimphos, which manufactures phosphate fertilisers, is a subsidiary of Chemplex Corporation that is wholly owned by the Industrial Development Corporation, a state-owned parastatal. Chemplex Corporation chief executive Tapuwa Mashingaidze, told The Herald Business that the group’s companies are now operating at meaningful capacity.“We have done the majority of the refurbishments at Zimphos and we are still awaiting some additional funding from the RBZ. This has managed to boost some of our operational structures. The refurbishment exercise is expected to be complete anytime soon. This assistance from RBZ has gone a long way in boosting our prospects as a company,” said Mr Mashingaidze.Zimphos has been struggling to raise operating capital while imports of fertiliser further exerted pressure on operations. The phosphates company has been producing 100 000 tonnes of phosphate fertiliser per annum compared to its original capacity of 250 000 tonnes and the deficit has been caused by the impact of imports to the local industry as well as availability of obsolete plant equipment.Zimphos in 2014 was operating at eight percent capacity with the phosphoric acid plant offline for routine refurbishments. The company also has an Alum Sulphate plant. Zimphos also has a drying plant for Gypsum and the company has been recording revenue from the sale of the product.Recapitalisation of Dorowa Minerals was critical since it produces key inputs in the production of fertiliser. The mine is located 3km south of the Save River in the Upper Save valley about 90km west of Mutare and is the only phosphate mine in Zimbabwe. Dorowa’s beneficiation plant consists of milling and flotation processes to produce phosphate concentrates, which are converted into superphosphates at Zimphos.Ore from the pit is at 6,5 percent P2O5 and the concentrates being dried and sent to Zimphos are at 37 percent P2O5. The dried concentrates are sent to the railhead at Nyazura some 65km away by road and 190km to Zimphos by rail.Zimphos requires $7,5 million for immediate refurbishments, which includes the following; sulphuric acid plant $4,2 million, phosphoric acid plant for TSP $1,5 million, Phosphates plant $600 000, Aluminium Sulphate Plant $450 000, Materials Handling Equipment $500 000 and factory buildings, structures and utilities $250 000.

June 22, 2017 - Local fertiliser producer Zimphos’ Msasa sulphuric acid plant is now 25% complete amid indications it will come online by first quarter 2018.  Deputy Industry minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa said the country has invested about $1.8 million in the project to date.  This comes as government recently expressed optimism that Zimbabwe would be able to avoid fertilizer shortages which hit the country during the 2016/2017 agricultural season, on the back of re-tooling by local manufacturers.  The remaining $5 million is currently being utilised to rebuild the sulphuric acid plant at the Zimphos Msasa plant,” Mabuwa told senators last week.  She said the plant was being constructed from a $10 million facility mobilised by the central bank to help ailing local fertiliser manufacturers retool.  ”…The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), mobilised resources to avail to local fertiliser firms to enable then to retool and modernise.  During the last quarter of 2015, Zimphos secured a $10 million loan from the RBZ.  Of thay amount, $5 million has so far been utilized at Dorowa Mine to buy equipment as well as refurbish the plant.  “As a result of the intervention, Dorowa Mine is now operating at 60% capacity utilization”, the deputy minister said.  Zimphos manufactures superphosphates while Dorowa Minerals produces phophates for fertilizer production.  Mabuwa also announced that the country’s sole ammonium nitrate producer, Sable Chemicals, has since resumed production in April 2017.  Currently, 1500 tonnes of ammonia is in stock and an additional 2000 tonnes was expected by mid-May.  “This development is expected to lead to a combined ammonium nitrate fertiliser output of about 7000 tonnes”, Mabuwa said, adding that capacity utilisation at local fertiliser companies has increased from 25% to 40%.  Government – through the National Social Securty Authority – also extended a $20 million facility to local fertiliser companies to drive the retooling process in the sector.  Meanwhile, a Chinese investment company is expected to have set up a fertiliser process plant in the country by end of August.  The plant – to be under taken by the China industrial International Group Zimbabwe – has targeted a fertiliser processing plant with the capacity to produce a combined output of 300,000 tonnes of Compound D and uranium fertilisers.  The $6 million plant will also boost the country’s fertiliser production capacity and plug deficit which is usually plugged through imports.

March 17, 2015
- The Zimbabwe Phosphate Industries (Zimphos) is courting an investor to inject US$18,5 million for the upgrading of the plant to enable the firm to cater for the export market.  The fertiliser manufacturing firm has managed to set off debts of US$27 million last year and has a current credit balance of US$7 million owed to financial institutions.  Zimphos Board Chairman, Mike Ndudzo said the company’s management is engaging an international organisation which has expressed interest in the fertiliser manufacturing firm.  “Our financial advisors and company’s management are meeting some of the prospective partners who have expressed interest. The venture will go through dilution by bringing capital which is about US$18 million. We are looking for a strategic partner in the sector not vulture investors ooking for cheap assets,” said Ndudzo.  The coming of the investor is expected to boost the availability and affordability of fertiliser on the market.  For the fertiliser firm, 80 percent of the working capital goes to raw materials as sulphuric acid is being imported.  The company has US$2,4 million which was intercepted by the US government, owing to sanctions imposed on the country by that government.

May 21, 2009
- The company, which is currently operating at 20 percent capacity, is also mulling short-term recovery projects to rehabilitate the pyrites burning sulphuric acid plant and the phosphoric acid plant, which are both "outdated" and dilapidated due to finance-related maintenance constraints resulting from poor cash flows in the last five years.

August 27, 2007 - One of Zimbabwe's largest fertiliser producers, Zimbabwe Phosphate Company (Zimphos), has stopped operations owing to unavailability of raw materials and persistent power outages that have hit the troubled southern African country in recent years, a state newspaper said.  The Herald reported that the availability of fertiliser in the country for the forthcoming cropping season was in serious doubt after Dorowa and Iron Duke Mines, which feed various raw materials into Zimphos, shut down operations last month owing to power outages and lack of foreign currency.  All these companies are important links in the production chain of fertiliser in Zimbabwe and any production glitches at either one of the companies, negatively affect overall output and supply of fertiliser on the market.  According to reports fertiliser companies have so far only produced 160 000 tonnes of a target of 600 000 tonnes for the forthcoming cropping season.  Dorowa Mines, which extracts phosphate rock concentrate, a critical component in the production of fertiliser, shut down its mines last month while Iron Duke Mines, which produces iron pyrites and later supplies Zimphos, has also stopped production because of power outages and unavailability of funds to purchase mining materials.  Iron pyrites is an acid used for burning phosphate rock that is used for the production of sulphuric acid.  The companies believe that should government make foreign currency available to them, the firms would still not be able to lift production above 300 000 tonnes because of the time that has lapsed before the setting of the rainy season.  Eben Makonese, the chief executive officer of Chemplex Corporation under which the three companies fall, said challenges facing Dorowa Mine had ripple effects in the whole production chain.  He said: "The whole thing is that if Dorowa is not operational you have got no fertiliser in this country while Zimphos, which produces fertiliser, stopped producing, and Iron Duke Mine is also not producing. We have made appeals to the ministries of Energy and Power Development, and Industry and International Trade and discussions are still ongoing to find a lasting solution.  "We have sent people on forced leave on half pay because of these operational challenges. Dorowa is at the beginning of the fertiliser production chain as it produces phosphate rock concentrate transported by road to Nyazura and then by train to Zimphos."  He said Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company and Windmill, two other major fertiliser producers, were currently not producing anything owing to operational challenge but efforts to get comment from the two firms proved fruitless.  Makonese said Sable Chemicals was getting only 50% of raw materials for the production of ammonium nitrate and that directly affected the production of AN fertiliser.  The shortage of fertiliser raises the prospect of yet another failed agricultural season. Zimbabwe's agricultural output has fallen over the years after President Robert Mugabe seized farms for redistribution to landless blacks. Mugabe's close confidantes have been the sole beneficiaries of the land redistribution exercise.

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