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Sulphuric Acid - NEWS


Updated May 30, 2018

 

2018

Tamil Nadu government orders permanent closure of Sterlite plant in Tuticorin 
New acid plant halfway done at Teck Trail
ADNOC and OCP intend to develop new fertilizer JV 
Haldor Topsoe increases catalyst price
Workers seek partner to buy and operate aging Peru smelter

DuPont increases price of sulfuric acid catalyst products

Redwater Phosphate Plant Shutting Down in 2019

Topsoe’s sustainable SNOX™ emissions control technology enters the carbon black industry  

Two Andhra Pradesh port towns in race for HZL smelter 
Fluor awarded FEED contract for Egyptian phosphoric acid production facility

DuPont increases catalyst prices
World’s largest wet gas sulfuric acid plant officially starts up
New Projects Boost Iran's Copper Sector

Outotec to deliver modular sulfuric acid plants for Shalina Resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Rio Tinto lifts force majeure on copper, acid from U.S. mine

Smelting company Nyrstar has opened its upgraded facility at Port Pirie, north of Adelaide
Noranda Income Fund Provides an Update on Production
Agrium and PotashCorp Merger Completed Forming Nutrien, a Leader in Global Agriculture


2017    2016   2015   2014   2013   2012   2011   2010   2009   2008   2007   2006   2005    2004   2003    2002   2001    2000   1999    1998

BASF inaugurates electronic-grade sulfuric acid plant in China 

May 30, 2018 - The German chemical company has started operations at a new electronic-grade sulfuric acid (H2SO4) plant in Jiaxing, China, to serve the country’s growing semiconductor manufacturing industry.  Driven by strong demand from customers, the plant has simultaneously started its expansion phase to double the production capacity before the completion of the facility. The expansion phase is expected to be operational by the end of the year, the company states in a press release.  “The new electronic-grade sulfuric acid plant in China is another step forward in our continued growth and expansion in China’s electronics market,” said Boris Jenniches, Vice President of Business Management at BASF Electronic Materials Asia Pacific. “China has already become one of the largest semiconductor markets in the world and is continuing to grow. We are excited to be a part of this momentum and will remain committed to getting closer to our customers and providing them with fast-track ramp-up of chemical solutions, reliable supply, and consistent quality.”  Located at the seaport town of Zhapu, Zhejiang Province, southwest of Shanghai, the new plant is equipped with the latest technology to produce the highest-quality sulfuric acid. This will primarily be used during hundreds of cleaning cycles that semiconductor wafers go through in the making of microchips designed in single-digit nodes measuring less than 10 nanometers. It houses quality analysis equipment, and an analytics lab with a dedicated cleanroom, to accommodate the future needs of electronics customers in China.


Tamil Nadu government orders permanent closure of Sterlite plant in Tuticorin 

May 28, 2018 - Vedanta group's Sterlite copper plant in Tuticorin has been ordered to be permanently shut by the Tamil Nadu government.  Large-scale violence on May 22 against the Sterlite copper plant here and police firing led to the death of 12 persons and the next day saw one more youth succumbing to injuries sustained in police firing.  Tamil Nadu deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Monday asserted that the government will take resolute steps for the permanent closure of Vedanta group’s Sterlite copper plant in Thoothukudi.  “Today, the main demand of the people is that the copper plant should be permanently closed. In keeping with their demand, it is shut now. I would like to make it clear that Sterlite plant will be permanently shut,” Panneerselvam said.  In a recent interview, Anil Agarwal, chairman, Vedanta Resources, alluded to vested interests behind the tragic events. "It is unfortunate what happened about 5 km away from our plants. When we had the information that something like this was being planned for the 22nd, we reached out to the court and the court was quick to inform the local administration for it to be prepared… and section 144 was imposed," he said.  He also said false propaganda led to the protests which led to 13 deaths. "Vedanta as a responsible corporate citizen and on humanitarian grounds, we will extend all possible support to families of the deceased and severely injured. The basic premise of the protest was unfortunate, as the plant was non-operational, awaiting Consent to Operate from TNPCB."  Sterlite Copper is a unit of Vedanta Ltd which operates a 400,000-tonne per annum capacity plant here.  With the return of normalcy, prohibitory orders were relaxed and the internet services have also been restored fully.  This spells bad news for Vedanta investors, further putting downward pressure on a stock that’s fallen 25% since the start of this year. 

New Acid Plant Halfway Done at Teck Trail

May 23, 2018 - Teck Trail’s new state-of-the-art acid plant hit the halfway mark of construction this week.  Local and provincial leaders met with Teck representatives at the site on Tuesday to hear an update on the $174-million build, which is slated to be fully operational by next summer.  “Today is all about celebrating an important milestone in a major project here at Trail Operations – 50 per cent completion of the No. 2 Acid Plant, ” General Manager Thompson Hickey began. “And celebrating the achievements of our project’s team as well as the many contractors, including CIMS, West Kootenay Mechanical, A-Plus Electric and AMEC Foster Wheeler, who worked so hard to reach this milestone.”  The new facility is a replica of the No. 1 Acid Plant which was completed in 2014. Together the new technology will replace three acid plants, which were constructed in the 1960s and ‘70s, that have now reached the end of their lifespan.  “The No. 2 Acid Plant is the latest major investment to further strengthen Trail’s position as a world-class metallurgical facility and an important part of our business,” noted Shehzad Bharmal, Vice President, North America Operations, Base Metals, Teck. “Teck, as a company, is committed to the future of Trail Operations. That is why we have worked hard over the years to strengthen the operational and environmental performance of every aspect of the smelter.”  The acid plants are part of zinc production processes, and convert SO2 gas into sulphuric acid. The sulphuric acid is sent to Warfield Operations for use in fertilizer production and it is sold in the open market for other industrial applications.  The new plant will further reduce SO2 (sulphur dioxide) emissions.  “It’s so great to see this continuing investment made in Trail Operations,” Mayor Mike Martin said.  “This is new acid plant is going to be replacing two old units, and as was indicated today, it will have a 40-year asset life,” Martin told the Times. “So it will help, in part, to secure Trail Operations for the future.”  As far as the City of Trail goes, any environmental improvement that is made by Teck, is a benefit, he added.  “This is just another example of that, replacing an old unit with one that will be operating with higher efficiency in removing sulphur dioxide, so again, we’ll see improvement for the community.”  Investments such as the KIVCET Smelter and the Nov. 1 Acid Plant have reduced emissions from the Trail plant by 95 per cent, and the No. 2 Acid Plant will further reduce emissions while enhancing the efficiency of operations, Hickey noted.  “This investment is good for our operation and for the community, helping to ensure that Trail Operations continues to be an economic drive in the region for decades to come,” Hickey said. “At Teck, nothing is more important than everyone going home safe and healthy every day, so I’m very pleased to say we’ve also reached this important milestone with zero Lost Time Injuries.”  Trail Operations houses one of the world’s largest smelting and refining complexes, which produces refined zinc and lead and a variety of precious and specialty metals, chemicals, and fertilizer products. The site employs approximately 1,400 people and has been in operation for over a century.


ADNOC and OCP intend to develop new fertilizer JV 

May 15, 2018 - Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC) and OCP Group of Morocco have announced that they have agreed to explore the phased creation of a new global fertilizers joint venture (JV).This move will reportedly accelerate the execution of both companies’ international strategies. It will build on both of their competitive advantages to develop a new global fertilizer producer. ADNOC will provide world scale sulfur production, ammonia and gas expertise, as well as its shipping and logistics network, whilst OCP will provide access to large phosphate resources, as well as know-how regarding fertilizers and its marketing network. The proposed partnership will consist of two fertilizer production hubs – one in the UAE and one in Morocco (making use of both existing and new assets), ensuring that the proposed JV has a global market reach.According to the statement, the proposed project extends the partnership that has already been established through the existing long-term sulfur offtake agreement that was announced by the two firms in December last year. Both companies will work on developing capabilities that will support this venture as they expand their partnership, leveraging their respective strengths and building their human capital.The agreement aligns with ADNOC’s announced plans to increase production (currently at 7 million tpy) by a minimum of 50%, as the company aims to increase gas production by tapping into vast gas caps and scaling up sour gas production. OCP has engaged in a large scale development program that will allow it to capture a share of growing fertilizer demand. The first phase of the program was completed this year, and has brought the group’s existing fertilizer capacity to 12 million t and rock export capacity to more than 18 million t.H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO, said: “The proposed joint venture with OCP Group illustrates ADNOC’s intent to maximise the value of all our resources, as we grow our downstream business, diversify our product range and increase revenues. The agreement builds on the expanded partnership model we announced last year, as we open our entire value chain to reliable, value-adding, long-term partners, who can complement our capabilities and resources, and enhance our market access.“Importantly, this agreement is aligned with the directives of our leadership to further build on the existing close relationship and ties between the United Arab Emirates and Morocco, and we look forward to building on these firm foundations as we work towards potentially building a new global fertilizers champion.”Mostafa Terrab, OCP Group Chairman and CEO, added: “This collaboration between our companies brings together the world’s largest phosphate reserves and the world’s largest sulfur production capacity and it represents an unprecedented alliance in the industry, providing the partners with a world-class integrated asset base and complementary geographic locations. We view this new partnership as a unique opportunity, in line with our global strategy, that will contribute to our ability to serve growing demand for fertilizers worldwide.”According to the statement, this agreement comes as ADNOC – at its Downstream Investment Forum – reveals its aim to establish itself as a global downstream leader, allowing it to further stretch the value of each barrel it produces to the benefit of ADNOC, its partners and the UAE. It aligns with its 2030 strategy of a more profitable upstream, more valuable downstream, more sustainable and economic gas supply, and more proactive, adaptive marketing and trading. This project further supports ADNOC’s downstream growth plans to create the world’s largest integrated refining and petrochemicals complex in Ruwais.


Haldor Topsoe increases catalyst price

May 10, 2018 - Effective immediately, Haldor Topsoe has announced a further price increase on the company’s sulfuric acid catalysts due to the rising price of raw materials.


Workers seek partner to buy and operate aging Peru smelter


May 3, 2018 - Workers at Peru’s La Oroya polymetallic smelter are in talks with more than two companies interested in partnering with them to restart operations at the nearly 100-year-old plant, a union leader said on Thursday.  La Oroya had been operated by Doe Run Peru, a unit of the U.S.-based Renco Group, from 1997 until the company went bankrupt in 2009 and its assets were transferred to a group of former creditors.  The group of creditors agreed this week that the workers union could buy the smelter along with a small copper mine, Cobriza, which had also been owned by Doe Run, in order to keep the two assets from being liquidated.  The union has until mid-June to find an investor to pay $90 million to help them buy the smelter and Cobriza, said Luis Castillo, the head of the union.  Castillo said workers had already started negotiations with two Peruvian companies and foreign investors. “It won’t be easy but we think that we’ll have the money and an investor by June 15,” Castillo said by phone, declining to name the companies.  A further $100 million in upgrades would be needed so lead and zinc smelting can resume, Castillo said. Copper smelting would need more in investments and time to restart, he added.  The town of La Oroya where the smelter is located in Peru’s central Andes was once named one of the 10 most polluted places in the world by the Blacksmith Institute environmental group. Hundreds of children in La Oroya have been found to have dangerous levels of lead in their blood.  Former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who resigned amid corruption allegations last month, relaxed sulfur dioxide emission limits to cut the cost of investing in upgrades in smelters. But six attempts to sell La Oroya in an auction failed to draw any offers.

DuPont increases price of sulfuric acid catalyst products

April 27, 2018 - DuPont Clean Technologies has released a statement announcing a further global price increase for its MECS® products.    The company claims that it has increased the price of its MECS sulfuric acid catalyst products by US$0.30/litre because of rapidly changing market conditions.DuPont added that the new pricing will take immediate effect, subject to the terms of applicable contracts.

Redwater Phosphate Plant Shutting Down in 2019

April 26, 2018 -
Nutrien Ltd. is getting out of the phosphate business in Canada by shutting down its Redwater facility, the only one of its kind in the country.Officials with the company have been spreading the news since it was announced earlier this year. Nutrien, created from the merger of Agrium and PotashCorp in January, will continue its phosphate operations but at its facilities in the United States.During his presentation at the Life in the Heartland event on April 18, Ted Sawchuk, plant manager at the Fort Saskatchewan operations, said the phosphate sales at the Redwater plant account for 50 per cent for Canada.“We are the only phosphate producer in Canada, at the current time,” he said. “Obviously with the mergers, there’s going to be synergies. One of the synergies that came out was the PotashCorp side had a lot of phosphate capacity. When we looked at their phosphate capacity, it became really, I would say, the best business decision overall is to shut down the Redwater phosphate.”The plant, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year just in time for the start of the shutdown, has 450 employees with on average a 100 contractors brought in every day and pays $6 million in property taxes. Sawchuk explained starting in 2019, the main phosphate plant will be shut down as well as the one sulphuric acid plant. This means there will no longer be any gypsum production being done as the company plans to reclaim the stacks over the years. Nutrien plans to double its ammonium sulphate production by spending $30 million to transform the facility to accommodate it. This is expected to take three months.Sawchuk said the company is not expecting “too many cuts” as it is believed attrition can handle most of the job losses.Mike Fedunec, the manager at the Redwater facility, said the official announcement of the shutdown happened less than a month ago so he and Sawchuk have been touring around to events like Life in the Heartland and the Redwater Mayor’s Breakfast to explain the news.“When word gets out that you are shutting down, you want to avoid panic in the streets,” he said. “We are converting basically. We are shutting down some plants, starting up a different one. Instead of having two products, we are going to have twice as much of one product.”Fedunec explained the shutdown process is expected to take a long time since the gypsum stack, for example, still has a lot of water in it. The company will have to build a water treatment plant to treat that water before anything can be done with it. The goal is to make it look similar to the stack in the Fort but with trees on it.As the company makes the transition, Fedunec said the company doesn’t have any plans for big layoffs at the moment.“Redwater is huge,” he added. “The phosphate side is less than half of the plant. We still have all of our nitrogen, we still have our urea, two ammonium plants, nitric acid. The nitrogen side is three times the size of the Fort site. The phosphate site is what we are working on.”



Topsoe’s sustainable SNOX™ emissions control technology enters the carbon black industry
 

April 12, 2018 - Orion Engineered Carbons LLC has signed a contract for Topsoe’s sustainable flue gas cleaning technology, SNOX™.  The contract has a value of a three digit million DKK amount.The solution will remove SOx, NOx and dust particles from tail gases at Orion’s carbon black plant in Ivanhoe, Louisiana, USA.  It is the first time that SNOX™ is applied in the carbon black industry.  Since 2014, Orion has conducted in-depth analyses of the SNOX™ process, including investigative site visits to existing Topsoe plants and testing the concept at one of Orion’s manufacturing facilities. In particular, Orion was convinced by the second-to-none sustainability profile of SNOX™, which does not consume any reagents, apart from ammonia for the NOx reduction, and does not consume any water. Other factors that played a major role in their selection were the highest available energy efficiency and the very low emissions level that meets the stringent environmental regulations. The agreement with Orion includes engineering, license, proprietary equipment, spare parts, catalyst, and future supervision tasks during commissioning and start-up, as well as service obligations during commercial operation. The SNOX™ plant is scheduled to be in full commercial operation by April 2021.The SNOX™ process removes sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulates from flue gases. The sulfur is recovered as sellable sulfuric acid and the nitrogen oxides are reduced to harmless free nitrogen. The process is based on catalytic reactions and does not consume water or absorbents. Neither does it produce any waste. 
The heat generated in the process can be reused to preheat air in Orion’s process which improves overall efficiency and economics considerably. 

Two Andhra Pradesh port towns in race for HZL smelter 

March 29, 2018 - The port towns of Kakinada in East Godavari and Krishnapatnamin Nellore district are in the reckoning by the Vedanta group to set up a zinc smelter. The smelter will be set up by Hindustan Zinc Ltd, the flagship of the Vedanta group in India, and the project was announced during the CII Partnership in Visakhapatnam last month.  According to J. Krishna Kishore, chief executive officer of Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB), HZL had sought 1200 acres of land for setting up the smelter. “The company indicated that it wanted the land in port towns, so the board showed Vedanta officials several large parcels of land in Kakinada and Krishnapatnam,” he said.  Asked when he expected to hear about which town Vedanta would be setting up the smelter, Krishna Kishore said the potential of the two towns is stated to be under consideration by the board of HZ, and that a decision is expected “shortly”.  The Anil Agarwal-owned Vedanta Ltd has a 64.92% stake in HZL, while the central government owns a 29.59% stake, and the balance is held by mutual funds, financial institutions and individual shareholders as of 31 December 2017, as per the company’s filing with the bourses on its shareholding pattern.  Krishna Kishore said that HZL is expected to invest Rs. 3000 crore in the first phase of the smelter, with another Rs. 3000 crore in the proposed second phase.  “Apart from the zinc smelter, HZL is also planning to set up a fertilizer plant to make use of the sulphuric acid generated by the zinc smelting process. The fertilizer plant could be outsourced to a third party by HZL, but that is something HZL will take a call on when the smelter is commissioned,” he said.  The current plan by Vedanta to set up a zinc smelter is the second attempt by the non-ferrous conglomerate to make a success of such a manufacturing unit in Andhra Pradesh. Its first attempt ended in the closure of the existing zinc smelter in Visakhapatnam in 2012.  The Visakhapatnam zinc smelter began commercial operations in 1977, and it produced both zinc and lead, and silver as a byproduct. While HZL shut down its lead plant in Visakhapatnam in the mid-nineties—long before Vedanta acquired a majority stake in the company from the government—following complaints by residents of villages adjoining the smelter that the lead residue was leaching into their groundwater sources, the company shut down its zinc smelter in 2012 with HZL and Vedanta claiming that it had become unviable to run the plant by transporting zinc concentrate from its mines in Rajasthan and elsewhere. Over 300 executives and workers were let go off when the Vizag smelter was shut down.  Last year, HZL hired a consultant to find a buyer for the 342 acres of land on which the smelter is located, but the move was moved into cold storage after labour unions in Vizag raised concerns over HZL’s plans to book windfall profits from the sale of the land, which is in the Gajuwaka neighborhood. The 342-acre HZL land is estimated to cost nearly Rs. 5000 crore.  Vedanta now plans to convert the land into a “city centre project”, as announced by the company during the partnership summit last month, and confirmed to ToI by HZL spokesman Pavan Kaushik earlier this month.  Krishna Kishore said that HZL’s new smelter in Andhra Pradesh would be using imported zinc concentrate, which had made it imperative for the Vedanta group to locate the plant in a port town. 


Fluor awarded FEED contract for Egyptian phosphoric acid production facility

March 27, 2018 - Fluor Corp. has announced that it has been awarded the front-end engineering design (FEED) contract by Enppi – Egypt’s state energy firm – for the offsites and utilities section of the main plant complex and support services for the Waphco phosphoric acid production plant at Abu Tartour, New Valley province, Egypt. 
The President of Fluor’s Mining & Metals business, Tony Morgan, said: “Fluor appreciates the importance and relevance to Egypt of this major industrial project and will use its experienced resources and subject matter expertise to deliver this complex engineering project to meet our client’s goals.“Our integrated project team is one of the most experienced in the mining and fertilizers industry with the resources, expertise and knowledge to meet the cost, safety and fast-track schedule needs of our client.”Fluor will work with Enppi as an integrated team. It will fast-track the FEED for the plant, which will utilise resources from the Abu Tartour mine to produce merchant-grade phosphoric acid. The project scope includes all process facilities. These include a sulfuric acid plant, utilities with a cogeneration system, storage and other required units. Once the facility is completed, it will produce 500 000 metric tpy of wet process phosphoric acid.

DuPont increases catalyst prices

March 7, 2018 - DuPont Clean Technologies (DuPont) has announced a general global price increase of US$0.50/l for its MECS® sulfuric acid catalyst products. Subject to the terms of applicable contracts, the new pricing will take effect immediately.  Our world-leading, high-quality catalyst enables customers to achieve high yield sulfuric acid production with maximum efficiency and reliability,” said Cristina Kulczycki, global product manager, Acid Catalysts. “Our focus continues to be on supporting members of the sulfuric acid industry with new products, technologies and services that allow them to be more agile, flexible and competitive.”

World’s largest wet gas sulfuric acid plant officially starts up
February 19, 2018 - Bestgrand Chemical Group has announced the successful startup of its wet gas sulfuric acid (WSA) plant. 
The plant has a production capacity of 300 000 tpy of sulfuric acid, and is the world’s largest such facility. It will treat 131 000 t of acid gas over-the-fence per year from the neighbouring world scale refinery plant operated by a joint venture (JV) between China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) and Shell in Huizhou City, China.Bestgrand Chemical Group claims that it focused on the environmental benefits from using WSA to capture gaseous sulfur and convert it into commercial grade sulfuric acid. It has also been a deciding factor that both the energy efficiency and the heat recovery of the process are very high. The company predicts that it will decrease CO2 emissions by 220 000 tpy and SO2 emissions to a level that is 50% lower than that required by the sulfuric acid industry.Frank Lei, Senior Sales Director, Topsoe in China, said: “Haldor Topsoe is proud to be awarded the license, engineering design, tech service, and hardware and catalyst contract for the world’s largest WSA plant by Bestgrand Chemical Group. The successful startup is a milestone for the WSA technology both in China and globally, and it proves that this technology has an important role to play in reducing harmful sulfur emissions in a commercially sound way.”Since 2000, Topsoe has sold a total of 68 WSA plants in China. 54 of these are now on stream, with the remaining 14 under construction.

New Projects Boost Iran's Copper Sector


February 5, 2018 - Thirteen expansion projects of Kerman Province’s National Iranian Copper Industries Company were inaugurated late Thursday by President Hassan Rouhani and Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari.  The total value of the projects exceeded 35 trillion rials ($760.8 million), the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization announced.  NICICO is the leading copper producer in the Middle East and North Africa region, as the mines it operates hold close to 14% share of Asia’s copper deposits and about 3% of global reserves.  Iran holds about 4 billion tons of estimated copper reserves, according to Geological Survey of Iran.  The new production projects include a flash smelter with a capacity of 282,000 tons of copper anode per year alongside the purchase of casting wheels and anode furnaces with an investment of 2.4 trillion rials ($51.6 million) in addition to €182 million; Khatunabad Copper Smelter with an annual capacity of 200,000 tons of copper cathode and an investment of 640 billion rials ($13.7 million) in addition to €143 million; Sarcheshmeh copper plant’s new convertor furnaces’ gas discharge system with 1.54 trillion rials ($33 million) in addition to the investment of €19 million; Sarcheshmeh cathode washing system with 1 trillion rials ($21 million) of investment; Sarcheshmeh’s explosive material production plant with a capacity of 12,000 tons of gelatin dynamites per year with 120 billion rials ($2.5 million) of investment; and expansion of Sarcheshmeh’s sulfuric acid plant capacity to 300,000 tons per year with 580 billion rials of investment in addition to €3 million.  The new infrastructure projects comprised the second line of the 80-kilometer Sarcheshmeh-Shahr-e-Babak Road with an 800-billion-rial ($17 million) investment; the first and second phase of Sirjan’s 500-megawatt combined cycle power plant with an investment of 700 billion rials ($15 million) in addition to €285 million; Khatunabad’s new copper concentrate storage with a 60,000-ton capacity and a molybdenum dewatering, drying and drum-filling plant, with a combined investment of 790 billion rials ($17 million); increasing the capacity of quicklime storage by 1,250 tons with an investment of 110 billion rials ($2.3 million); Meymand-Shahr-e-Babak electricity substation with 50 billion rials ($1 million), in addition to an investment of €15 million; and nine electricity substations to feed flash smelters, acid sulfuric and molybdenum plants with 480 billion rials ($10 million) of investment, according to NIOC's website.  The company, however, stopped short of saying whether the projects' "inauguration" meant that they have become operational or simply that work has just begun on them. 

Giant Holding
 

NICICO operates the world’s second largest and the Middle East’s largest open-pit copper mine, Sarcheshmeh. The mine is home to over 826 million tons of proven and 1.2 billion tons of estimated copper reserves, alongside substantial amounts of minerals such as molybdenum, gold and rare metals.  NICICO's other mines include Sungun Copper Mine in northwestern Iran, Taft, Miduk, Chahmesi and Chahfiroozeh mines in central Iran, Daraloo Mine in the south and Chehelkoureh Mine in southeast.  Its plants in Kerman Province include Sarcheshmeh and Miduk concentration plants with 800,000 tons/year capacity, Sarcheshmeh Molybdenum plant with 7,000 tons/year, Sarcheshmeh and Miduk SX-EW plants with 13,000 tons/year capacity, Sarcheshmeh and Khatoon Abad smelter plants with 250,000 tons/year capacity, Sarcheshmeh Sulfuric Acid Plant with 100,000 tons/year capacity, Sarcheshmeh Refinery Plant with 240,000 tons/year capacity, Khatoon Abad Refinery Plant with 200,000 tons/year capacity and Sarcheshmeh wire rod, slab and billet casting plants with 180,000 tons/year capacity.
 

Stability in Global Prices
 

Capacity expansions at NICICO have come at a good time, as global copper prices are holding their own in 2018.  After a series of plunges in late 2017, copper spent most of December growing rapidly to distance itself from its $6,500 lows and jump above $7,000 in January 2018. Prices have taken a beating since the year began, dropping from a high of $7,202 to just above $6,900, but February showings have been strong and it’s now again above $7,100, London Metal Exchange reported.  NICICO’s experience with the historic lows of 2015 has made it more resilient and also adaptive.  According to the head of IMIDRO, Mehdi Karbasian, NICICO has reduced its copper concentrate finished price from 35,510 rials (76 cents) per kilogram to 24,400 (52 cents) and cathode prices from 51,980 rials ($1.1) to 39,000 rials (83 cents) in the past four years.  The cost-cutting enabled the company to survive the low prices and now with the markets improving, it is poised to increase NICICO’s competitiveness.  NICICO’s shares are currently being traded at 2,633 rials each on Tehran Stock Exchange with a market capitalization of $3.47 billion.  The company is a semi-privatized entity, as a large number of state-owned firms or other semi-privatized companies own its shares. Its largest shareholder, for instance, is the vast mining governmental holding IMIDRO with a 12% share.  Bank Mellat, Metal and Mines Development Investment Company are the two other, each owning about 5.7%.


Outotec to deliver modular sulfuric acid plants for Shalina Resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo

January 29, 2018 - Outotec to deliver modular sulfuric acid plants for Shalina Resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo Outotec has been awarded a contract by Shalina Resources Limited for the delivery of advanced sulfuric acid plant technology to the Mutoshi project near Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The order value, approximately EUR 33 million, is booked in Outotec's 2018 first quarter order intake. Outotec's scope includes the delivery of three skid mounted, modular sulfuric acid plants that will produce the acid and SO(2) gas required in the process of the new Mutoshi copper-cobalt plant. The innovative plant concept, based on Outotec's technology and expertise gained from 650 plants delivered globally, ensures the many benefits of modular prefabricated plant delivery, such as low investment, installation and operation cost, increased availability and maintainability as well as environmentally sound and safe operation. The order complements the EUR 65 million copper and cobalt processing technology delivery to the Mutoshi project Outotec announced on December 14, 2017. "We really look forward to working with Shalina Resources in the Mutoshi project, and are extremely pleased that we can complete our diverse technology package for the copper and cobalt processing now with sulfuric acid plants. These modular plants represent our latest technology, and remarkably improve the environmental performance of the plant", says Kalle Härkki, head of Outotec's Metals, Energy & Water business.

Rio Tinto lifts force majeure on copper, acid from U.S. mine


January 26, 2018 - Rio Tinto lifted force majeure on Jan. 1 for shipments of refined copper and acid from its Kennecott mine in the United States, 79 days after declaring it could not meet customer commitments, a spokesman said on Friday.  The global miner declared force majeure October 13, after halting production of refined copper at its Utah mine smelter following the death of a worker exposed to sulfur dioxide gases at the plant. It restarted the smelter November 17.  “It’s business as usual,” said spokesman Kyle Bennett.  In the fourth quarter, refined copper production at Kennecott declined 67 percent compared with the same period in the previous year, to 22,100 tonnes from 67,000 tonnes, Rio said in an operations report last week.  The smelter was expected to draw down an increased concentrate inventory during the first half of 2018, Rio said.  In 2017, Kennecott produced 125,800 tonnes of refined copper, down some 20 percent from 2016. 


Smelting company Nyrstar has opened its upgraded facility at Port Pirie, north of Adelaide

January 22, 2017 - Smelting group Nyrstar has opened its upgraded metals processing plant at Port Pirie, north of Adelaide, after a $600 million investment to cut pollution and ensure its long-term viability.Premier Jay Weatherill says the upgraded plant has secured 730 ongoing jobs and will allow the company to significantly reduce emissions."For Nyrstar, improved efficiencies provide a pathway to uplift earnings and for Port Pirie we can lock in better health and environment outcomes for decades to come," Mr Weatherill said as he visited the plant on Monday.Nyrstar chairman Martyn Konig said the smelter had played a strong role in the changing face of Port Pirie for more than 127 years."Nyrstar is proud and committed to continue to be a fundamentally important part of the economic and social landscape in Port Pirie," he said.Mr Konig said Nyrstar also valued a commitment to sustainability and one of the most important reasons for the redevelopment was the significant environmental benefits it promised to deliver.That included moving to a completely enclosed furnace design to capture dust and sulphur dioxide emissions which would result in a markedly improved environmental footprint, he said.SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said the Nyrstar development had also provided up to 600 jobs during the construction phase and local companies were awarded contracts worth about $90 million."But just as importantly, securing the future for Port Pirie has encouraged other businesses to invest in new developments due to the certainty we have created," he said.Mr Weatherill said without the redevelopment, the closure of the Port Pirie facility had been a possibility.'That would have been catastrophic on a number of levels, environmentally, socially but of course economically for this region," he said.The premier said the government had two key goals in supporting the project, protecting the health of the local community and protecting local jobs.

Noranda Income Fund Provides an Update on Production

January 19, 2018 - Noranda Income Fund (TSX:NIF.UN) (the “Fund”) provides an update to the market on the work towards returning to normal operating capacity following the ratification of the new collective agreement on December 1, 2017.All active unionized employees returned to work at the processing facility in December 2017. As of the end of December, all equipment that had been idled since February 2017 has been restarted. By the end of January 2018, the Fund’s Manager expects to have completed the ramp up of the processing facility’s operation to normal operating capacity.Once the processing facility has achieved its normal operating rate, and assuming full supply of zinc concentrate, the Fund should be able to produce between 250,000 and 260,000 tonnes of zinc from the treatment of concentrate feeds as well as processing the 20,000 tonnes of Glencore Canada-owned cathode in 2018. As disclosed in November 2017, the Fund sold 20,000 tonnes of zinc cathode to Glencore Canada. It is expected that this material will be tolled by the processing facility. In exchange, the Fund will receive a tolling fee.The Fund, through its Independent Committee and their advisors, is currently negotiating with Glencore Canada and anticipates reaching a satisfactory agreement regarding the supply of zinc concentrate following the end of the current concentrate agreement on April 30, 2018.


Agrium and PotashCorp Merger Completed Forming Nutrien, a Leader in Global Agriculture

January 2, 2018 - Nutrien Ltd. today announced the successful completion of the merger of equals between Agrium Inc. and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc., creating the world’s premier provider of crop inputs and services. Nutrien has the largest crop nutrient production portfolio combined with an unparalleled global retail distribution network that includes more than 1,500 farm retail centers. With nearly 20,000 employees – and operations and investments in 14 countries – the company is committed to providing products and services that help growers optimize crop yields and their returns.“Today we are proud to launch Nutrien, a company that will forge a unique position within the agriculture industry,” said Chuck Magro, President & Chief Executive Officer of Nutrien. “Our company will have an unmatched capability to respond to customer and market opportunities, focusing on innovation and growth across our retail and crop nutrient businesses. Importantly, we intend to draw upon the depth of our combined talent and best practices to build a new company that is stronger and better equipped to create value for all our stakeholders.”Nutrien common shares will trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol NTR beginning today.  Trading of common shares of Agrium and PotashCorp was halted on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange concurrently with the listing of Nutrien common shares on such exchanges. The merger of equals resulted in PotashCorp shareholders receiving 0.40 common shares of Nutrien for each common share of PotashCorp they owned, and Agrium shareholders received 2.23 common shares of Nutrien for each common share of Agrium they owned.