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Sulphuric Acid - NEWS
Updated December 31, 2008

2008

Germany's GEA to close Ruhr-Zink unit at end-2008
Shell buys emissions-scrubbing firm
Sulphuric acid plant sealed as per PCB order

Groupe Chimique Tunisien (GCT) will stop production
Chemtrade Logistics Income Fund expects Texas regen/sulphuric acid plant to be back online by late 2008

Doe Run Peru Inaugurates New Lead Acid Plant in La Oroya
Outotec to acquire Auburn Group in order to strengthen its service business  

Adnoc lower
s its August sulphur price

McMoRan may revive offshore sulfur mines

Kazakh sulfur must be stored indoors by 2010

OCP agrees 2nd half Russia sulphur at $350/tonne rise

Kazakh Kazatomprom to build new acid plants

Technip consortium wins construction order for sulphuric acid plant in Tunisia

Motion to Institute a Class Action Against CEZinc is Dismissed

Texas A&M, Shell sign research deal on sulphur asphalt mixtures

Outotec's sulfuric acid technology to Venezuela

Aker Solutions wins acid plant deal from US firm Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold

Kazakhstan's new sulfuric acid plant is expected to start production in June
FMI plans to build sulphur burner near Safford
Contaminant permit appeal dropped
Migao Announces 120,000 Tonne Sulphuric Acid Production Facility

Sulfuric acid prices explode

Iranian Sulphur Sold at Record $666/t

Engro forms JV with Algerian Ferphos

Chemtrade and Vale Inco enter into new agreement for marketing of sulphur by-products

Atlas takes over Bolivia lead-silver smelter

Aker Kvaerner expands in Canada

Nippon Oil to Make Sulfur-Based Concrete in U.A.E.

Sulfuric Acid Investments in the Chemical Industry Continue With Strength, an Industrial Info News Alert
DuPont Knew There Was Danger Of Chemical Leak

Sulfuric Acid Operation Out for a Month

Charges Laid Against Marsulex

Germany's GEA to close Ruhr-Zink unit at end-2008

December 8, 2008 - Hamburg - German engineering group GEA has confirmed its loss-making zinc producer Ruhr-Zink GmbH will close at the end of this year after attempts to sell it failed.  GEA had originally announced the closure in October.  After "the failure of a final round of talks with possible investors GEA has decided finally to close Datteln-based Ruhr-Zink on 31 December," GEA said in a weekend statement.  Ruhr-Zink had suffered from falling zinc prices and high German energy costs.  "Considerable losses were to have been expected in coming years if operations had continued," GEA added.  Ruhr-Zink produces 140,000 tonnes of zinc and 150,000 tonnes of sulphuric acid a year.

Shell buys emissions-scrubbing firm

December 2, 2008 - Cansolv's technology being used to remove sulfur dioxide and futher carbon capture and storage systems.  A division of energy giant has acquired Cansolv Technologies, a company that developed technology to counter air pollution.  Cansolv—based in Montreal, Canada, and Shenzen, China—works in carbon capture and storage, as well as developing a scrubbing system to control sulfur dioxide and other contaminants.  Financial terms were not disclosed.  Cansolv will be integrated into Shell Global Solutions International B.V. The technology is currently in use in seven locations, with other projects in various stages of development.  The technology is used by the oil refining, chemical processing, utilities and metals industries to improve environmental performance and meet emissions regulations.  "We want to improve our capabilities to clean up contaminated gas and gases released during processing operations, focusing on the reduction of SO2 emissions in the first instance," Shell Global Solutions President Greg Lewin said in a release. "We must 'learn by doing' in order to reduce costs, accelerate technology development and ultimately make carbon capture and storage commercially viable on the back of emissions trading schemes."  Cansolv Technologies was formed in 1997 through a management buyout from Union Carbide Corporation to commercialize and market the scrubbing system.

Sulphuric acid plant sealed as per PCB order

October 30, 2008 - The district administration today sealed the sulphuric acid plant of Paradip Phosphates Ltd as per directions of the state Pollution Control Board causing tension and resentment amongst workers of the plant.  Armed with a police contingent, the district authorities sealed the sulphuric acid plant amidst protests by workers. The management of the plant also tried to reason with the authorities pointing out that a petition filed by them in Orissa High Court was fixed for hearing tomorrow and hence it would be proper to wait for the court orders. But the plant was sealed and notices not to switch it on or operationalise it were pasted. It may be noted that earlier in the month the State Pollution Control Board, Orissa served notice to PPL to shut the chemical unit as it had allegedly violated pollution norms.  Effluents of the plant had allegedly caused health hazard. A SPCB team had visited the plant before serving the notice to close the plant by 10 October. Reacting to this PPL authorities had moved the High Court which in turn ordered a status quo pending disposal of the case, said PPL authorities.

Groupe Chimique Tunisien (GCT) will stop production

October 30, 2008 - Tunisian phosphates producer Groupe Chimique Tunisien (GCT) will stop production at two sites and has asked sulphur suppliers to delay, or in some cases cancel, shipments due to high stock levels, market sources said on Thursday.  GCT is stopping production of diammonium phosphate (DAP) and phosphoric acid production at its Gabes and La Skhira complexes until the end of the year in response to weak market conditions, according to a GCT announcement.  This will leave just its triple superphosphate (TSP) and phosphoric acid plants in Sfax running.  Black Sea sulphur suppliers reported that GCT asked them to delay or cancel cargoes scheduled to be delivered before the end of the year so that the producer can avoid having to store all the volumes.  Suppliers also noted that there is a long queue of vessels already waiting to discharge in Tunisia.  GCT has two 650,000 tonne/year DAP plants at Gabes and can produce around 1m tonnes P205 of phosphoric acid there.  Phosphoric acid production capacity at La Skhira is 375,000 tonnes P205/year.

Chemtrade Logistics Income Fund expects Texas regen/sulphuric acid plant to be back online by late 2008

October 3, 2008 - Chemtrade Logistics Income Fund said its Beaumont, Texas regen/sulphuric acid plant is expected to be back online by late 2008.  The plant was shut down following an explosion in the plant's furnace on August 21, 2008. As expected earlier, the plant would not be restarted in mid-November due to longer than anticipated time to submit and receive permits from regulatory authorities for the rebuilding.

Doe Run Peru Inaugurates New Lead Acid Plant in La Oroya

October 01, 2008 - Doe Run Peru has inaugurated a $50 million plant to treat sulfur dioxide emissions from the lead circuit of its La Oroya metallurgical complex.  The plant, which was inaugurated Tuesday after a 15-month construction process, is considered central to further reducing emissions in La Oroya and is expected to significantly lower the levels of sulfur dioxide in the air of the mountain community.  The project was completed on time and is the second of three sulfuric acid plants being constructed under the company's environmental operating agreement with the Peruvian government, known by its Spanish acronym, PAMA. The first sulfuric acid plant, for the zinc circuit, is already in operation; A third plant for the copper circuit is also under construction and should be completed by October 2009 together with an upgrade of the copper circuit technology.  "It has been essential for Doe Run Peru to finish this plant on time as it demonstrates in deeds our commitment and desire to meet our obligations to the Peruvian government and the city of La Oroya," said Juan Carlos Huyhua, Doe Run Peru's president and general manager. Huyhua added that "The fruits of the project's labor will be seen in an improved quality of life for the people of La Oroya."  Also Tuesday, the company inaugurated a modern dispatch center for the sulfuric acid the plant will produce once it extracts the sulfur dioxide from the air. The plant has a capacity of 30,700 metric tons of sulfuric acid.

Outotec to acquire Auburn Group in order to strengthen its service business  

September 5, 2008 - Outotec has signed an agreement to acquire Canada-based Auburn Group, a service provider for the mining and metals industries. The transaction value is CAD 15 million (approximately EUR 10 million). The acquisition supports Outotec's strategy to grow the service business to the annual level of EUR 250-300 million by the end of 2010. The closing of the transaction is expected in October 2008.  Auburn was founded in the 1960s. The company provides maintenance and technical services for the mining and metals industries mainly in Canada and Chile, but it also has some global activities. Auburn's sales in 2007 were CAD 41 million (approximately EUR 27 million), and the company employs some 150 people. (www.auburn1.com)  "The fit between Outotec and Auburn is excellent. The two companies have a shared focus on the mining and metallurgical industries with a number of shared markets and customers. Auburn's services and resources increase our possibilities to grow the service business. Their experience in shut-down maintenance services for smelters and sulfuric acid plants in particular will bring us new business opportunities.

Adnoc lowers its August sulphur price

August 4, 2008 - Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc) has lowered its August sulphur price to traders by $50/tonne in response to weaker demand from China and India, the first monthly decrease since 2006, a company official said on Monday.  The August price was set at $770/tonne FOB (free on board) Ruwais, down from the record high of $820/tonne FOB in July, the official added. This represents the first decrease in Adnoc’s monthly price since November 2006, however the August price is still $275/tonne higher than in January this year.  Adnoc said that although its supply situation remained tight, sulphur demand in key markets China and India had weakened and in response it had lowered its price.  Traders had been expecting a decline in the Adnoc price for August but were anticipating a slightly larger decrease to $750/tonne FOB.  The Adnoc monthly price is largely viewed as an indicator of global price direction.

McMoRan may revive offshore sulfur mines

July 18, 2008 - McMoRan Exploration Co., a major driller in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, may revive a sulfur-mining business abandoned eight years ago in those waters as rising demand boosts prices.  New Orleans-based McMoRan quit mining sulfur from its offshore mines in the Gulf of Mexico in 2000 after prices fell to $30 a ton. Demand from fertilizer makers, chemical producers and the copper-mining industry has now driven prices to about $450 a ton, Co-Chairman Richard Adkerson said Thursday.  McMoRan's dormant mines hold about 60 million tons of sulfur, the biggest reserve in North America, Co-Chairman James "Jim Bob" Moffett said during a conference call with investors and analysts. The pipes and other infrastructure used to mine the sulfur in the 1990s are still in place, he said.  "Prices are up because people are squeezed since biofuels exploded and everybody around the world started planting every acre they could, and that's driven up demand for fertilizers," Moffett said. "It's a significant potential for us and we're going to make sure we take advantage of it."  McMoRan put on hold a plan to turn the abandoned sulfur mines into storage chambers for imported liquefied natural gas because of lack of demand from gas shippers, Adkerson said in a July 8 interview. The site is 38 miles east of Venice, La., in 210 feet of water.  McMoRan's sulfur deposits are about 1,200 feet below the sea floor, Moffett said. The company's mines could produce 1,500 tons of sulfur a day, Adkerson said.  The company is conducting a study now of the mines. The largest operating cost would be for natural gas used to heat seawater pumped into the sulfur deposits, Adkerson said.  "Some people say these prices can't be sustained because of all the sulfur available in the world but people have said the same thing about all commodities," he said.

Kazakh sulfur must be stored indoors by 2010

July 14
, 2008 - Kazakhstan has requested that Chevron-led Tengizchevroil find a way to store its open-air sulfur stocks indoors by 2010.  "By 2010, all the sulfur must be stored in a storage facility if it's not sold by then," said Raushan Sarmurzina, a senior official of the Kazakh ministry of energy and minerals.  A Tengizchevroil spokesman questioned the validity of the Kazakh ministry demand, saying the company is not violating environmental law by storing sulfur in the open air.  "First of all, we think that at the moment we are storing the sulfur in a proper way," said Tengizchevroil official Murat Mynbayev. "As for 2010, we have no information about that."  Mynbayev said the company was still "working on various ways of storing sulfur indoors, and [it] planned to cut stocks significantly by 2017."  The oil from Tengiz contains hydrogen sulfide, which is processed into huge piles of inert yellow sulfur and stored near the oil wells before the crude oil is transported by pipeline.  Kazakh authorities long have accused the Tengiz oil project of making slow progress in removing open-air sulfur stocks. Last year, a court imposed a 74 billion tenge fine on Tengizchevroil but later reduced it by 50%.

OCP agrees 2nd half Russia sulphur at $350/tonne rise

July 14 2008 - Moroccan phosphate fertilizer producer Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP) has agreed a second-half 2008 supply contract for Russian sulphur at an increase of around $350/tonne over January-June prices on supply and demand issues, market sources said on Monday.  OCP took 1.5m tonnes of Russian sulphur annually through trader Solvadis and the price for July-December 2008 was agreed at just below $800/tonne CFR (cost and freight), a company official confirmed.  Solvadis agreed a first-half price with OCP in the $440s/tonne CFR range.  However, OCP failed to find a price agreement with trader ICEC for Kazakh sulphur during the second half of the year.  Sulphur prices have soared this year on the back of tight supply globally and strong demand from the phosphate fertilizer industry.  Earlier, ICEC had agreed second-half prices with Tunisian buyer Groupe Chimique Tunisien (GCT) for Kazakh tonnage at $795-800/tonne CFR.  ICEC had been looking for a price slightly above $800/tonne CFR with OCP to take account of the higher freight rates from the Black Sea to Morocco.  OCP also takes Middle East sulphur but remains in talks with suppliers regarding July-December 2008 contracts.  Middle East suppliers initially targeted prices in the high $900-1,000/tonne CFR range but these were rejected by the buyer, who is looking for a price similar to that agreed for Russian sulphur.  OCP was hopeful agreements could be found with Middle East suppliers in the next week, noting that they now appeared more willing to compromise on price Morocco imported 3.9m tonnes of sulphur in 2007, up from 3.7m tonnes in 2006.

Kazakh Kazatomprom to build new acid plants

July 9, 2008 - Kazakh state-owned nuclear company Kazatomprom plans to build two or three plants to produce sulphuric acid, a chemical used in uranium mining, a senior Energy Ministry official said on Wednesday.  Kazakhstan and a Chevron-led oil venture Tengizchevroil are struggling to find ways of utilising tonnes of sulphur extracted from Tengizchevroil's crude production.  Raushan Sarmurzina, a senior official at the Ministry of Energy and Minieral Resources, said Kazatomprom would come to rescue by using its sulphur to produce sulphuric acid.  "Kazatomprom plans to build two or three sulphuric acid plants," Sarmurzina told reporters. "They will need it to boost uranium output."  Kazakhstan is home to a fifth of global uranium reserves and wants to become the world's top producer by 2010, surpassing Australia and China.

Technip consortium wins construction order for sulphuric acid plant in Tunisia

July 3, 2008 - French engineering group Technip said it and and local partner Pireco have been awarded a contract to build a sulphuric acid plant in Tunisia.  No financial details were disclosed.  In a statement, Technip said the order was placed by Tunisian Indian Fertilizers (TIFERT).  The unit will have production capacity of 3,600 tons per day and is due to enter service at the beginning of 2010.

Motion to Institute a Class Action Against CEZinc is Dismissed

June 4, 2008 - Noranda Income Fund (TSX: NIF.UN) has confirmed that the Honourable Justice Helene Poulin of the Superior Court of the province of Quebec has dismissed the motion to institute a class action suit filed against its' manager, Canadian Electrolytic Zinc Limited ("CEZinc"), following the release of sulphur trioxide (SO3) from the refinery in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield on August 9, 2004. The Superior Court's judgment confirms the position held by CEZinc since the beginning, that the class action suit was unfounded.
The class representative had sought authorization to file a class action suit in the days following the incident, on behalf of the individuals who were inconvenienced by the accidental release of sulphur trioxide. CEZinc management is satisfied with the judgment and hopes this will put an end to the proceedings. The class representative has 30 days to appeal the decision.
Since 2004, CEZinc management has reviewed and improved its communications protocol, and has invested $1.1 million to improve the control systems at the acid plants and to increase the number of electronic sulphur surveillance posts. In 2005, CEZinc obtained ISO 14 001 certification for environmental management.
The staff and management at CEZinc are committed to ethical values by adhering to the strictest norms. CEZinc remains a responsible corporate citizen, dedicated to protecting the environment and respecting its laws. It works closely with Environment Canada, Quebec's Ministere du Developpement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs and is an involved partner in sustainable development within the community.

Texas A&M, Shell sign research deal on sulphur asphalt mixtures

May 30, 2008 - Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), an affiliate of Texas A&M University and Qatar Shell signed a research collaboration agreement yesterday.  Both institutions will initially focus on the monitoring and evaluation of asphalt mixtures containing sulphur extended asphalt modifier (SEAM) and conventional hot mix asphalt laid by Shell over a 600m stretch of road at the “Pearl Village”, the worker accommodation for the Pearl GTL project at Ras Laffan.  The research will also focus on the relationship between different grades of asphalt to be used in conjunction with SEAM and the road’s performance providing information concerning optimal SEAM road installation techniques.
The agreement was signed on behalf of TEES by its contracting officer Glenn Mathews and by Cas Groothuis, general manager of the Qatar Shell Research and Technology Centre (QSRTC).  SEAM is a recently developed patented enhancement to sulphur asphalt that improves the stiffness and rut resistance of the asphalt when mixed in the formula, particularly in hot climates. In thick pavements, these properties are associated with a longer road life.
Since sulphur is one of the by-products of processing North Field gas, Shell is exploring the technical feasibility of SEAM through the QSRTC in light of potential commercial applications in the country.  Shell has carried out over 20 successful SEAM demonstration projects across the globe in countries such as Canada, USA, China, India and Saudi Arabia.
Texas A&M is internationally recognised in road materials design and engineering. The testing to be carried out by the university will be conducted under the supervision of principal investigators Eyad Masad and Dallas Little of Texas A&M’s Civil Engineering Department.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to engage in a project that uses some of the expertise available on the Texas A&M campuses in Qatar and Texas for the benefit of Qatar,” said James Holste, associate dean for research and graduate studies at Texas A&M at Qatar.
Groothuis said, “The signing of this agreement today further demonstrates our strong commitment to finding sustainable and commercial uses for the various products and by-products stemming from our projects in Qatar. We are confident that the SEAM trial in Ras Laffan will help us demonstrate the superior properties of this unique asphalt enhancer and are honoured to work with such a prestigious university like Texas A&M in this important research project.”

Outotec's sulfuric acid technology to Venezuela

May 30, 2008 - Outotec has agreed with Petroquímica de Venezuela S.A. (Pequiven) for the delivery of engineering and imported equipment for a new sulfuric acid plant to be built in Morón, Venezuela.  The value of the contract is approximately EUR 90 million.  Outotec has provided the concept and basic engineering for Pequiven for the same project in 2007. In this second phase Outotec's scope of delivery covers engineering and supply of imported equipment.  The plant is designed to produce 3,000 tonnes per day of sulfuric acid for Pequiven's phosphate-based fertilizer production.  The start-up of the plant is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2010.  "This contract demonstrates our capability to apply our technologies beyond the mining and metallurgical industry in other process industries, such as fertilizer industry.  We have been a major designer and supplier of sulfuric acid plants for more than 80 years, with a track record of over 600 plants installed worldwide. This new contract will further strengthen our market leadership", says Tapani Järvinen, President and CEO of Outotec.

Aker Solutions wins acid plant deal from US firm Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold

May 28, 2008 - OSLO - Aker Solutions (Chemetics) said it has been awarded an engineering and procurement services deal by US firm Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc, worth an undisclosed sum.  Under the terms of the deal, Norway's Aker Solutions said it will provide engineering, procurement and design services for the US firm's planned acid plant at its Safford copper mine, located in south-eastern Arizona.  While no financial details were given, Aker Solutions said construction is expected to start in October, with overall project completion scheduled for the third quarter of 2009.  Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold is building the sulphuric acid plant to provide acid for the leaching pads of its copper mine, Aker Solutions said.

Kazakhstan's new sulfuric acid plant is expected to start production in June, easing pressure on the country's uranium producers who have been battling supply problems

May 20, 2008 - Copper producer Kazakhmys Corp is building the 1.2 million tonne plant alongside a copper smelting facility in Balkhash to produce sulfuric acid while cutting emissions of sulfur dioxide from copper production. The project is supported by a $20 million loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The output from the new plant should be sufficient for all KazAtomProm's currently planned mining projects. According to Kazakhmys, first output from the plant is expected by the end of June.  Most of Kazakhstan's uranium mining uses in-situ leaching (ISL), and requires large amounts of sulfuric acid to counter the neutralising effect of the high carbonate content of Kazakh orebodies. Supply has been tight since the Kazakh government introduced rationing in late 2007 following a fire at a sulfuric acid plant. Uranium producers were forced to look elsewhere to secure supplies of the important reagent. National nuclear company KazAtomProm sourced 10,000 tonnes of acid from Uzbek suppliers and also talked of building its own acid plant. Canadian-based Uranium One, which has stakes in the South Inkai and Kharasan mines with KazAtomProm, was reported to be planning to invest in a Russian sulfuric acid plant in order to secure supplies and safeguard against any future supply disruption.  The sulfuric acid shortages resulted in Kazakhstan producing 1000 tonnes less uranium than originally anticipated in 2007. Total uranium output for the year, at 6637 tU, was nevertheless up on 2006. Kazakhstan has 15% of the world's uranium resources and an expanding mining sector, aiming for 15,000 tU annual production by 2010 and 30,000 tU by 2018.

FMI plans to build sulphur burner near Safford

April 21, 2008 - Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. plans to build a sulphur burner on a 4-acre site north of Safford if the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality approves revisions of the mining company’s air quality permit.  Richard Peterson, FMI spokesman, said the sulphur burner plant will produce sulfuric acid, which is used to extract copper from ore. If ADEQ approves revisions of FMI’s air quality permit, construction of the $100 million plant is expected to begin in the fall and be complete within a year. The sulphur will likely come from Texas.  Until then, sulfuric acid will continue to be trucked to the Dos Pobres mine from the smelter at Miami.  The sulphur burner, which will have a closed vessel, will also produce electricity that will be used for mining operations.  “The emissions will be tightly controlled by our operating permit,” Peterson said. “It’s anticipated all the acid will be used in Safford.”

Eastern Arizona Courier
Diane Saunders
www.eacourier.com

Contaminant permit appeal dropped

Marsulex has dropped its appeal of an amended air contaminants permit issued by the B.C. Ministry of Environment on Jan. 18 that reduces daily sulfur dioxide emissions by 2009.  The permit also tightens monitoring requirements and adds start-up guidelines.
Marsulex had been appealing two points of the permit: the parameters around the start-up guidelines and the timeline for putting up monitoring equipment.  Marsulex plant manager Randy Sarrazin said Monday the company managed to get the monitor set up before the deadline set by the ministry and are also satisfied on the wording on the guideline.  Sarrazin stressed the company was only appealing the permit to get clarification on the two points. "We worked closely with the environment ministry and got those resolved, there was no point to our appeal," he said.  Ministry of Environment officials were not immediately available for comment on Monday.  In a letter to Marsulex in January, the provincial ministry said the permit was amended to provide better protection to the environment, and to reflect the reduction in sulfur dioxide discharges that are expected following upgrades to the Marsulex plant in 2008.  The ministry noted that reporting requirements have increased significantly.  The 15-page permit also required Marsulex to install and maintain a sulfur dioxide monitor near the plant in the BCR industrial site, which will provide readings of sulfur dioxide in the air.  Marsulex is not appealing the other components of the amended permit, including a decrease in sulfur dioxide emissions from the sulphuric acid and liquid sulphur dioxide plant to 500 kilograms per day from 615 kilograms per day.  That reduction will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2009, and amounts to a 19-per-cent decrease.  The amendments to the permit were issued following an incident in the summer of 2006 after several sawmill workers next door were sent to hospital following a cold start at the Marsulex plant.  Marsulex discovered in a review that a higher concentration of sulfur than normal belched out of its smokestack during the routine startup on Aug. 9, 2006.  Marsulex has been charged by environment ministry over that incident, which is now before the courts.  Marsulex, which has operated since 1967 and employs 18 people, provides chemicals to Northern Interior pulp mills.

GORDON HOEKSTRA
www.princegeorgecitizen.com

Migao Announces 120,000 Tonne Sulphuric Acid Production Facility

April 2, 2008 - Toronto, Ontario - Migao Corporation (TSX:MGO), a leading producer of specialty potash fertilizers for the Chinese market, is pleased to announce that it will be constructing a sulphuric acid production facility at its Liaoning Migao potassium sulphate location.  Sulphuric acid is a raw material consumed by Migao in the production of potassium sulphate. Migao has incurred significant price increases of sulphuric acid recently and as such the economics of producing sulphuric acid are more compelling than continuing to purchase the product. The anticipated cost of the project is $8,000,000. The construction period is estimated to occur between May 2008 and February 2009. Iron pyrite required to produce sulphuric acid will be sourced locally in Liaoning Province, where long-term supply is assured. Migao currently sources sulphuric acid from domestic Chinese producers.

"We anticipate a payback of less than three years as a result of this vertical integration of one of our key raw materials," said Mr. Liu Guocai, Migao's CEO. "This project reinforces our desire and ability to secure key raw materials."

Sulphuric acid produced at Liaoning Migao will supply all the needs of potassium sulphate production at both Liaoning Migao and Changchun Migao.  Sulphuric acid not consumed by the two potassium sulphate facilities will be sold to local industrial customers.

Sulfuric acid prices explode

By Dave Hannon -- Purchasing, 3/26/2008 From www.purchasing.com

Buyers are reporting a huge jump in sulfuric acid prices in Purchasingdata.com’s monthly survey and say tightening supply and increased demand from domestic and overseas markets is to blame.

Sulfuric acid prices in March hit a record high of $329/ton, according to Purchasingdata.com, after trading at $90/ton as recently as October. Buyer Bobbie Fallaw at Devro Castings received a 26% increase from a sulfuric acid supplier this week and says the increase is due to a combination of factors: rising sulfur prices, increasing demand for sulfuric acid from the fertilizer markets, and short supply of sulfuric acid.

“Suppliers are telling us that the increase of ethanol plants will further increase the demand for sulfuric acid,” Fallaw says.

In September, Purchasing.com reported that the biofuels boom, particularly the proliferation of ethanol plants, is having a "double effect" on the demand for sulfuric acid, according to Paul Bacon, business director at Rhodia Eco Services, a French sulfuric acid producer. But a more recent story in February in the Ames (Iowa) Tribune says “the pricing of sulfuric acid, a manufacturing commodity used in the production of metals and fertilizer, has soared due in part to the increased additional demand from the manufacture of ethanol fuel.”

One sulfuric acid buyer at a biotech firm in the Northeast told Purchasing.com this week both of his chemical distributor partners increased prices for sulfuric acid in the first quarter. He said: “They both claim that producer costs have gone up due to higher production costs. Since I am not a huge user of sulfuric acid and our sulfuric acid prices have been steady for the past 18 months, I did not push back very hard regarding this latest increase. I expect prices to hold for at least the rest of the year.”

Automotive tier one supplier Johnson Controls in January raised lead-acid battery prices by 4% and cited a dramatic jump in sulfuric acid prices as one of the reasons.
At least one buyer of sulfuric acid, Frontera Copper in Toronto, says that a strike at a major sulfuric acid supplier has wreaked havoc on its supply and pricing in the first quarter. In a late February update, Frontera said the strike has been ongoing since July and the lack of sulfuric acid supply has impacted its mining capabilities, although the copper firm declined to name the supplier.

Key Compton, president of sulfuric producer Southern States Chemical in Savannah, Ga., says increasing sulfur prices are the primary reason for sulfuric acid prices to rise. Compton says sulfuric buyers may be in for a long ride, as sulfur prices look to remain high for the remainder of 2008 and into 2009, pushing sulfuric acid prices up in the U.S.

Iranian Sulphur Sold at Record $666/t

18 March 2008 - LONDON -Iranian sulphur prices have risen $14/tonne (€9/tonne) to a new record high following a tender award amid a continued tight market, an official at supplier Iran petrochemical Commercial Co (IPCC) said on Tuesday.  IPCC sold 25,000 tonnes of granular sulphur to an unnamed trader at $666/tonne FOB (free on board) under its extended sales tender which closed on 18 March, the official confirmed.  The cargo will be lifted from Bandar Imam Khomeini (BIK) in the second week of April. At present the destination is undeclared, but market expectations are that it will be shipped to India.   The previous Iranian price high was $642/tonne FOB following a sales tender by IPCC last month. The vessel Princess 2 has been fixed to load the cargo 25-26 March in BIK for shipment to India.  This new price high comes amid continued tight supply and strong demand in the global sulphur market.  However, market sources said that the rate of increase in prices has started

Engro forms JV with Algerian Ferphos

March 11, 2008 – Karachi - Engro Chemical Pakistan Ltd confirmed on Monday that it was going to form a joint venture with Ferphos of Algeria to produce DAP, sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid and associated utilities. The project is expected to be constructed in a period of four years in Algeria after the completion of feasibility study by the joint venture, Engro said in a notification to the Karachi Stock Exchange. “Engro is interested in forming a joint venture with Ferphos, the national iron ore and mining company of Algeria, for establishing a phosphatic fertiliser complex in Algeria after conducting a detailed feasibility study,” the statement said.  The complex will consist of one, 3,000 tonnes per day unit of DAP; three 4,500 tonnes per day units of sulphuric acid, three 1,500 tonnes per day units of phosphoric acid and associated utilities facilities, it added.  The company explained that it had participated in an open and transparent international tendering process that took place in May 2007 and secured the top position as Ferphos preferred partner for creation of this joint venture.  However, the official communication of this was not made as certain approvals from the government of Algeria were awaited. In February-2008, the Algerian Council for state participation, relevant Algerian government body for taking decisions on foreign investments, approved the creation of the joint venture between Ferphos and a foreign partner (i.e. Engro). But for some reasons, the name of Engro was yet to be disclosed in Algerian media.  Engro Chemical Pakistan was still waiting for the official confirmation of its selection as the Ferphos partner from the government authorities concerned in Algeria. This decision is expected within the next few weeks after the resolution of some issues regarding the exact location of the project site, the company added.

Chemtrade and Vale Inco enter into new agreement for marketing of sulphur by-products

Toronto, Canada - March 3, 2008 - Chemtrade Logistics Income Fund (TSX: CHE.UN) announced today that Chemtrade Logistics Inc. has renewed its agreement with Vale Inco Limited for the marketing of all sulphur by-products produced by the Vale Inco smelter in Sudbury, Ontario. The new 10-year contract, which contains similar terms to the existing agreements between the parties, is effective as of January 1, 2008. This continues the exclusive relationship between Chemtrade, including its predecessors and Vale Inco for the marketing of sulphur by-products, which has been in place for more than 75 years.      Mark Davis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Chemtrade said, "We are delighted to announce this agreement, which is the culmination of significant effort by both Chemtrade and Vale Inco. Chemtrade and Vale Inco have a long and mutually beneficial relationship based upon the parties' alignment of interests and focus on long-term business goals. The length of the new agreement demonstrates the commitment of both companies to continue
their long-term focus on the safe and efficient removal of Vale Inco's sulphur by-products and the maximization of value from these products."   "The capture of sulphur dioxide gases and conversion into sulphuric acid and liquid SO(2) is key to Vale Inco's continued environmental stewardship at our Sudbury operations," said Fred Stanford, President of Vale Inco's Ontario Operations. "Our relationship with Chemtrade provides us with continuing certainty of removal services.

Atlas takes over Bolivia lead-silver smelter

La Paz, February 21, 2008 - Canada's Atlas Precious Metals is going to invest $141 million to begin production in one year at a smelter in Bolivia that has been shut for 25 years, local media reported.  Transfer of ownership interest in the defunct plant, located on the outskirts of the historic mining city of Potosi, some 600 kilometers south of La Paz, took place on Wednesday, nearly three years after Atlas and Bolivia's state-run mining company Comibol signed a shared risk agreement.  The deal comes as Bolivia's leftist government has moved to tighten state control over the mining sector. In early 2007, the government nationalized a tin smelter operated by Swiss group Glencore International AG. President Evo Morales has also hiked taxes on mining companies operating in the country.  Ontario-based Atlas will control a 65 percent stake in the Karachipampa plant. Comibol will hold the remainder. Karachipampa, known for years as a "white elephant", was inherited from military dictatorships that were never able to get it up and running amid a lack of raw materials and low prices for lead and silver in recent decades.  The plant, built for the Bolivian government by the German company Klockner at a cost of between $150 million and $200 million, has a processing capacity of 51,000 tonnes per year of silver and lead.  Atlas President Roy Shipes said the investment would be used to get the existing smelter operating, and to build an adjoining zinc refinery with an annual production capacity of 150,000 tonnes and a sulfuric acid plant.  Potosi is one of Bolivia's mining centers. In the 1700s, the city was one of the world's most populous because of the still productive giant silver mine Cerro Rico. Shipes said he hoped the revival of the smelter will help the city return to its former glory as the the country's industrial capital.  Alberto Echazu, Bolivia's mining minister, said the agreement with Atlas showed the government's willingness to work side by side with companies that have a real desire to be partners.

Aker Kvaerner expands in Canada

February 20, 2008 - Aker Kvaerner ASA, the Norwegian engineering powerhouse has announced that it will invests in expansion and relocation of its specialised technology shop in Toronto, Canada.  Aker Kvaerner says it is committed to further invest in its Process & Construction business by relocating and expanding the company's technology fabricationarm; Aker Kvaerner Chemetics in Toronto.  The new state-of-the-art fabrication shop, to be built in Pickering, Ontario, just east of Toronto, represents an investment of CAD 17.7 million . Aker Kvaerner Chemetics was established in Greater Toronto in 1961. The construction of this facility will enable Aker Kvaerner Chemetics  to further capitalise on their expertise in specialised welding, stainless steel and high alloy fabrication.  The new facility will provide higher and heavier lift capacity for larger equipment and will increase production.  "We are expanding the customer base in our traditional sulphuric acid markets and further expanding into equipment supply to the energy and process markets," says Doug Shaw, President of Aker Kvaerner Chemetics.  "Construction of this facility will allow us to capitalise on the market's demand for shell and tube fabrication by more than doubling our  production capacity in Toronto.  We expect employment to increase  40% by the end of 2009," says Bob Vanderland, president of the Toronto facility.  Integrating the Company's comprehensive Health, Safety and Environmental principles, the new facility will provide improved workflow by eliminating congestion in work areas, more efficient energy usage, and built-in waste management systems.  "This is an important strategic investment for the business as we continue to service our customer base with the highest quality of technological solutions in the industries we serve,"  says Martinus Brandal, President & CEO of Aker Kværner ASA.

Nippon Oil to Make Sulfur-Based Concrete in U.A.E.

February 16, 2008 - Nippon Oil Corp. will set up a venture in the United Arab Emirates by June to make a concrete material from sulfur, sharing the technology overseas for the first time to bolster business ties, the Nikkei newspaper said.  The venture with developer Al Qudra Holding will open a factory near oil refineries in Abu Dhabi to produce 50,000 tons of sulfur concrete a year, the newspaper reported, without saying where it obtained the information. Al Qudra will hold a 51 percent stake in the venture, the report said.  Nippon Oil plans to sell the product to builders of sewage systems, water drains and other infrastructure, the paper said. The Tokyo-based company is also considering starting a similar business in Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich nations, where sulfur, a petroleum byproduct, is abundant, Nikkei said.

Sulfuric Acid Investments in the Chemical Industry Continue With Strength, an Industrial Info News Alert

Sugar Land, Texas - February 13, 2008 - Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas) -- Investments by producers of sulfuric acid slowed in 2007 to an estimated $64 million while the focus by most producers in this segment was aimed at planned maintenance turnarounds and related projects. Based on projects currently being tracked as part of Industrial Info's North American Project Database, producers of sulfuric acid in the Chemical Processing Industry (CPI) could top $250 million this year.

DuPont Knew There Was Danger Of Chemical Leak

February 4, 2008 - Wurtland, Kentucky - Attorneys for more than 200 people suing DuPont after a 2004 chemical leak say similar leaks had happened before.  That contradicts claims by the company.  In October 2004, a cracked pipe at a Wurtland facility created clouds of sulfuric acid that injured workers and emergency responders.  According to court records a DuPont senior engineer told officials the company did not install equipment that could have detected the leak because it had never experienced that type of leak before.  But in an e-mail released this month to attorneys representing the plaintiffs a DuPont engineer said the previous bundle of tubes had also broken. That break was quickly detected and no one was harmed.  DuPont attorney Dan Danford has said he cannot comment on the e-mails because some of the information is sealed.

Sulfuric Acid Operation Out for a Month

January 26, 2008 - Pascagoula, Mississippi - A 1,500-ton-per-day sulfuric acid plant in Pascagoula will be out of production about four weeks while needed repairs are made, Mississippi Phosphates Corporation announced Friday.  The company operates two of the plants at its phosphate fertilizer facility in Pascagoula. During the down time, the internal components of a boiler in the plant will be replaced.  In July the boiler tubes and tube sheets in the boiler suffered a "major failure," Mississippi Phosphates said, and the contractor retained to make the repairs "failed to deliver an operationally reliable boiler."  The company said it has hired another contractor to assemble and install the new internal components in the boiler. It is estimated the work can be completed within 30 days, with replacement parts already on site.  "Until the idled sulfuric acid plant is returned to service, diammonium phosphate production will be limited to about 900 tons per day," the company said.  Mississippi Phosphates sued the first contractor in October seeking to recover damages caused by delays in making the repairs.  The company produces DAP at its plant in Pascagoula. The company distributes its fertilizer to both domestic and international markets.

Charges Laid Against Marsulex

January 7, 2008 - Prince George, B.C. - Charges have been laid against Marsulex Inc., a chemical plant in the BCR industrial site in Prince George in connection with an incident that happened  in the summer of 2006.  On Aug. 9, 2006, a large plume of sulphur dioxide gas was discharged from the Marsulex plant and settled in the neighbouring Canfor’s Rustad Brothers Sawmill yard.  The incident resulted in adverse health effects on 18 Rustad employees, 13 of whom required treatment at the Prince George Regional Hospital. Charges were recommended after an eight-month investigation and the execution of a search warrant by the CEIU.  Marsulex has been charged with several counts under the Environmental Management Act, including introducing waste and causing pollution, failing to comply with a permit, failing to maintain and inspect works, and failing to determine the daily quantity of sulphur dioxide discharged from their plant.  The first court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 5, 2008 in Prince George Provincial Court.