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Sulphuric Acid - NEWS
Updated January 3, 2011

2010

Topsoe launches new sulphuric acid catalyst

CER Will Install $11 Million Waste Heat Recovery System for Wengfu Ltd. in China
DuPont to acquire sulfuric acid firm MECS
Los Angeles Region to Curb Lung-Damaging Sulfur Pollution
CER Signs $23 Million Contract for Two Heat Recovery System Installations in China 
SNC-Lavalin to Revamp Sulphuric Acid Plant in Jordan
British Sulphur is changing its name to CRU
SEI and FLSmidth to Supply Fabric Filter Systems to the North American Utility Industry
Incitec Pivot breakdown adds to Xstrata emission
Madras HC Orders Closure of Sterlite’s Copper Smelting Plant
Judge won't dismiss sulfuric acid antitrust case
Vale reaches tentative deal to end bitter mining strike
Befesa completes the financing for its new desulphurisation plant in the Port of Bilbao
Outotec complements its sulfuric acid production technologies by acquisition of Edmeston AB
Freeport to begin construction of sulphur plant
ICIS acquires benchmark sulphur market publications
Sulphuric acid prices held down by excess supply
New smelting facility, a Refinery and a Sulphuric Acid Factory planned for Serbia's RTB Bor
Chile Enami halts operations at largest smelting plant for 10 days
Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd
Uranium One mulls participation in second Kazakh acid plant
Mitsubishi Materials May Run Smelters at Full Capacity in Japan
Doe Run Peru reach a positive Letter of Intent with Glencore
Outotec to Deliver 116 Million Euro Copper Plant for Codelco in Chile

2009   2008   2007   2006   2005    2004   2003    2002   2001    2000   1999    1998

Topsoe launches new sulphuric acid catalyst

November 2, 2010 - Topsoe has developed a new sulphuric acid catalyst for operation in converted strong gases.  The catalyst – designated VK-701 LEAP5™ – has shown significant activity advantages compared to existing potassium and caesium-promoted catalysts.  The high activity offered by VK-701 LEAP5™ presents new conversion opportunities for any single- and double-absorption plants.   “We are pleased to present our clients with a new and improved catalyst, which will reduce their SO2 emissions significantly,” says Lene Hansen, General Manager, Marketing Sulphuric Acid.  The catalyst has been developed in-house by Topsoe’s researchers, and the new VK-701 LEAP5™ exhibits a major leap in activity based on physical and chemical changes enhancing the amount of the active vanadium in oxidation state V5+.

CER Will Install $11 Million Waste Heat Recovery System for Wengfu Ltd. in China

November  11,  2010 - China Energy Recovery Inc. announced today it signed a $10.9 million (US) contract with Wengfu Co., Ltd. to retrofit a heat energy recovery system into an existing sulfuric acid plant at the company's Fuquan City facility located in Guizhou Province, China.  CER's heat recovery system will be capable of generating 960 tons of steam per day at 176C and 0.8MPa from operations at the plant.  The steam will be used to supply power for the plant, reducing its demand for electricity produced from fossil-fuels. CER's installation is scheduled for completion in August  2011.  Wengfu produces a range of basic chemicals at its Fuquan City facility including phosphate, sulfuric acid, iodine and anhydrous hydrogen fluoride.   "We are excited to have Wengfu as a new customer and we look forward to helping them cut costs and reduce pollutants," CER Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Qinghuan Wu said. "CER has developed a strong design that will deliver real savings."  Installation of CER's heat recovery system is aligned with Wengfu's commitment to sustainable development and reduced sulfur chemical pollution. By using recovered heat to produce steam as an energy source, Wengfu will be able to reduce costs, energy consumption and pollutants.

DuPont to acquire sulfuric acid firm MECS

- DuPont has agreed to acquire MECS Inc., a sulfuric acid firm whose technology is used to convert sulfur pollutants into sulfuric acid for use in developing countries. The Wilmington-based company expects the acquisition to increase the “addressable” market for its clean air and fuel technologies from about $200 million to $1 billion.  DuPont did not disclose financial terms of the deal. It’s buying MECS from New York private equity firm American Securities LLC.  DuPont said the deal will expand the company’s clean tech portfolio in high-growth regions of the world like Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. About 70 percent of MECS’ sales come from outside of North America in emerging economies like Brazil, China and India, DuPont said.  “The markets are highly attractive to us,” James R. Weigand, president of DuPont’s Sustainable Solutions business, said in a statement. “Dupont cann add value to the sulfuric acid offerings with out technology, licensing, proprietary equipment, consulting and training resources.”  MECS chief executive Nick Bhambri said the deal “will benefit both our organizations and our customers.”  In its announcement, DuPont called sulfuric acid “the most widely used chemical in the world and a vital part of every industry.” It specifically named the fertilizer, non-ferrous metals, petroleum refining and chemicals industries. Growth in sulfuric acid consumption tends to reflect economic growth, and improvements in standards of living. Areas of increasing demand include (not surprisingly) the emerging economies in China, India, the Middle East and parts of Africa, DuPont said.

Los Angeles Region to Curb Lung-Damaging Sulfur Pollution

Sulphur Pile - Port of Long Beach.bmp (720054 bytes)November 9, 2010 - Amid a gray landscape of oil refinery smokestacks and storage tanks, a massive pile of neon-yellow sulfur sits alongside the Port of Long Beach.  That pile, or others like it, are set to grow considerably, now that Southern California air pollution officials are cracking down on sulfur oxide emissions that contribute to an epidemic of asthma and other health problems in the region.  Eleven major refineries and industrial plants in the Los Angeles area will be forced to slash their airborne sulfur pollution by more than 2,000 tons a year under sweeping new regulations, adopted by the South Coast Air Quality Management District.  The new rules effectively halve the amount of sulfur oxides that can be emitted in the district, which covers Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.  Sulfur is a component of the minute airborne particles,  2.5 micrometers or less in size, that are responsible for the premature deaths of an estimated 9,000 Californians each year. The particles come from stationary sources such as refineries and cement plants, and mobile sources such as trucks, tractors and forklifts.  Environmentalists hailed the Los Angeles region's crackdown on sulfur, which came after three years of negotiations with the oil industry. "It felt like a nine-round bout between two heavyweights," said Adrian Martinez, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "We have filthy air, and we need to tell big polluters like refineries to clean up their act."  The sulfur reductions, amounting to 5.7 tons per day, will phase in between 2013 and 2019 as part of the area's "Regional Clean Air Incentives Market" (RECLAIM), a cap-and-trade system set up in 1993 to reduce sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxide pollution. Emissions on large industrial plants were capped, with the cap dropping over 10 years.  But in 2003, Martinez said, reductions stopped. The sulfur cap has not been lowered in seven years, and the district did not revise its assessment of the technology available to reduce sulfur emissions, he added.  Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Assn., called the three-year rule-making "grueling" and said oil companies had made a "huge commitment" in accepting "the very tight controls imposed by this rule." Although federal officials are considering even stricter standards for fine particles, Reheis-Boyd warned that any additional controls are unlikely to be cost-effective and "should be avoided."  Air district spokesman Sam Atwood said the new rules will cost the industries an estimated $630 million to $750 million including capital investments and operations. "It was a long process, but what was amazing is that in the end everybody was on the same page," he said. "Industry realized it needed to do everything feasible."   The facilities affected by the sulfur rule include refineries owned by BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Valero and Tesoro; two sulfuric acid plants operated by Rhodia Inc. and ConocoPhillips; a BP coke calciner plant; a California Portland Cement Co. plant; and an Owens Brockway Glass facility.  In the Los Angeles area, trucks transporting goods from the ports to the rest of the U.S. are  also a major source of smog and soot. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday rejected parts of the South Coast district plan to meet federal health standards because they are based on regulations that state officials have said they may revise.  The California Air Resources Board has scheduled a vote in December on whether to soften 2008 regulations to curb diesel truck pollution, a primary source of fine soot particles. Truckers have waged a ferocious battle against the diesel standards. The recession has lowered truck emissions, which officials say may justify stretching out the compliance timetable.   Environmentalists say that without strict diesel rules, regions such as Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley cannot meet federal health standards for air pollution.

CER Signs $23 Million Contract for Two Heat Recovery System Installations in China 

November 5, 2010 - A Return Customer, Hubei Sanning Chemical Co. Orders CER Systems for New and Existing Sulfuric Acid Plants - China Energy Recovery Inc. an international leader in the design, fabrication, installation and servicing of waste heat recovery systems, announced today that it signed a contract with Hubei Sanning Chemical Co. Ltd. to manufacture and install two, large-scale waste heat recovery systems for sulfuric acid production located at the company's production complex in Zhijiang City, Hubei Province, China.  The contract for the two systems, which was executed on Oct. 16, represents an approximate gross total of $22.7 million (US) to CER.   Of the two heat recovery systems ordered by Hubei Sanning, one is rated to produce 22 tons-per-hour of low-pressure saturated steam and will be retrofitted to an existing 300 thousand ton-per-year sulfuric acid plant. This system is scheduled to be completed in December 2011. The second system for Hubei Sanning will be incorporated into a new, 800 thousand ton-per-year sulfuric acid plant under construction at the site. This system is rated to produce 125 tons-per-hour of high-pressure superheated steam and is scheduled for completion in January of 2012.  Hubei Sanning previously contracted with CER to install a heat recovery system for another of its sulfuric acid plants in Sept. 2009. "We are pleased to have been selected again by Hubei Sanning to manufacture and install heat recovery systems for new and existing sulfuric acid production in Zhijiang City," Qinghuan Wu, Chairman and CEO of China Energy Recovery, said. "The scale of these projects underline the confidence Hubei Sanning has in CER's engineering capability and the performance of its waste heat recovery systems."  Hubei Sanning is the fertilizer and coal-chemical subsidiary of Jincheng Coal Group, one of China's leading industrial chemical and fertilizer producers.  Sulfuric acid is a basic building-block chemical used in fertilizer manufacturing.

SNC-Lavalin to Revamp Sulphuric Acid Plant in Jordan (November 3, 2010)

British Sulphur is changing its name to CRU

October 21, 2010 - As a delegate to British Sulphur conferences, you will know that we have been providing events, analysis and consultancy to the Sulphur, Sulphuric Acid, Phosphates and Nitrogen + Syngas industries for over 50 years.  You may also know that CRU International acquired British Sulphur in 1985.  CRU kept the British Sulphur name and British Sulphur continued to operate as part of the CRU group.  As part of a drive to streamline our business and deliver superior value to clients, we have decided to stop using the British Sulphur name. Now, when you attend one of our conferences, buy our market analysis, commission our consultants, you will see one brand, one name, one business—CRU.   CRU is the world’s leading independent consultancy, business analysis and conference provider for the metals, mining, fertilizers and cables industries. Founded in the late 1960s and still privately owned to ensure its independence, CRU is located in London, Beijing, Mumbai, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Sydney and key centres in the United States. CRU employs over 200 experts comprising economists, management consultants, engineers, metallurgists, geologists, chemists and journalists.  While we change the British Sulphur name to CRU, we are also investing in the CRU website. We want to give you a better and more efficient way of viewing information, accessing reports and finding out about our latest conference or publication. Look out for your new website in early 2011.

SEI and FLSmidth to Supply Fabric Filter Systems to the North American Utility Industry

October 15, 2010 - Southern Environmental, Inc. (SEI) and FLSmidth's North American Air Pollution Control business have established a LONG-TERM TEAMING AGREEMENT to bring turn-key Fabric Filter Systems to the Utility Industry.  Under this agreement FLSmidth and SEI will work closely together and collaborate in the areas of sales, marketing, design, engineering, fabrication, construction and project management to provide end-to-end, custom designed, turn-key fabric filter systems.  Based on the joint engineering philosophies focused on quality and high performance through modeled and scientifically controlled gas flow, SEI and FLSmidth will have a team of some of the best talent in the air pollution control market, unifying the highest level of integrity in the business.
SEI has executed air pollution control projects as large as USD 100m. 
Meanwhile, FLSmidth has designed and built entire production facilities from the ground up. 

Michael Johnson SEI's Director of Sales, is proud to announce that Michael Wagner FLSmidth and long time colleague of the SEI organization is a key team member for this association.  Mr. Wagner stated, "This team brings to bear the talent of the organizations in a way that both companies and the utility market will benefit from the relationship."
The world leading FLSmidth FabriCleanTM technology coupled with SEI's execution experience and vertical integration will provide utility owners with a supplier that has the financial strength, staying power and commitment to quality that is critical in this environment of ever increasing air pollution regulation.
Dan Nemeth, President of FLSmidth's North American Air Pollution Control activities says, "We are SEI's technology partner and are looking to SEI to serve as the Market Prime.  We are their process group that brings 125 years of experience and a solid reputation to the team."

Incitec Pivot breakdown adds to Xstrata emissions (October 13, 2010)

Madras HC Orders Closure of Sterlite’s Copper Smelting Plant (September 28, 2010)

Judge won't dismiss sulfuric acid antitrust case

September 24, 2010 - A federal judge in Chicago on Friday refused to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit in which companies that bought sulfuric acid accused producers of that chemical of conspiring to fix prices in the United States and Canada.  U.S. District Judge David Coar said there were "enough issues of contested material fact" to let the plaintiffs pursue allegations of a conspiracy to cut output and boost prices from 1988 to 2001, violating a U.S. antitrust law, the Sherman Act.  "There is, of course, a lack of clarity as to whether defendants in fact acted as plaintiffs allege," Coar said in an 80-page ruling. "There is complete clarity that, if they did, it would amount to a per se violation of the Sherman Act."   Coar said he rejected motions to dismiss by Norfalco, a joint venture between Canadian companies Falconbridge Ltd and Noranda Inc; Boliden Intertrade Holdings Inc; Koch Industries Inc; Noranda and Pressure Vessel Services Inc.  He said he dismissed part of the plaintiffs' case against Falconbridge, and their entire case against GAC Chemical Corp. DuPont Co. had been a defendant before settling, the judge said.  Defendants still in the case were not immediately available for comment.  Sulfuric acid is used in industrial applications such as fertilizer production, lead-acid batteries and oil refining, and is among the most widely used products in the chemical industry.  The highly corrosive commodity can also be used to produce narcotics, and its transportation is partly overseen by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.  The case is In re: Sulfuric Acid Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Illinois, No. 03-04576.

Vale reaches tentative deal to end bitter mining strike (July 4, 2010)

Befesa completes the financing for its new desulphurisation plant in the Port of Bilbao 

June 21, 2010 - Befesa, through its subsidiary Befesa Valorización de Azufre, S.L.U. (formerly Acoleq Químicos S.L.U.), has completed the non-recourse financing to construct and operate a new plant producing sulphuric acid from waste sulphur in the Port of Bilbao.  The project, which will require an investment of €70 million, will be partly financed by a syndicate of banks comprising Banco Pastor, Cajasol, Banesto, Caja Rural de Navarra, Ipar Kutxa and Bankoa. Befesa will also invest capital from the sale of the land where its existing desulphurisation plant is currently located, which was sold in 2008 as part of the Sefanitro Interior Reform Special Plan of the municipality of Baracaldo (Vizcaya). It is worth noting that the project also has a €2.0 million loan from the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade.  The new plant, which will be located in the Autonomous Port of Bilbao in the municipality of Zierbena (Vizcaya), will focus on producing sulphuric acid and oleum from sulphur and desulphurisation waste, and will include electricity cogeneration. The plant, which will have the capacity to treat 120,000 tonnes of sulphur and produce 350,000 tonnes of sulphuric acid and oleum, will also generate approximately 90,000 megawatts of electricity per annum.  The process of producing sulphuric acid and oleum from waste sulphur recovered from plants in the petrochemicals sector helps to manage the environmental impact from oil companies by using a cleaner and safer process. The new plant is expected to be operational in the last three months of 2011.  Javier Molina, Chairman of Befesa, said “this operation demonstrates Befesa’s capacity and strength to finance and develop important infrastructures and projects focused on sustainable development using the best available technologies, which makes us a global leader in the recycling and management of industrial waste”.

Outotec complements its sulfuric acid production technologies by acquisition of Edmeston AB

 

Outotec has acquired all shares in Edmeston AB, a Swedish company specializing in sulfuric acid production equipment and systems. The transaction is subject to completion of confirmatory due diligence, and it is expected to be closed in May. The parties agreed not to disclose the transaction price.  Outotec is the leading supplier of advanced sulfuric acid plants for the metallurgical and chemical industries. Outotec's technology is used for example in fertilizer production. The company has delivered over 600 sulfuric acid plants globally.  Edmeston AB is a Gothenburg Sweden based company specializing in engineering and supply of process equipment used primarily in sulfuric acid plants. Edmeston has unique know-how of special stainless steel grades suitable for use in highly corrosive environment. Edmeston's annual revenues are approximately EUR 10 million, and it employs around a dozen professionals.  "The acquisition of Edmeston strengthens Outotec's position as the leading provider of sulfuric acid production technology. Edmeston complements our offerings to the sulfuric acid plant operators enabling us to raise our service level in particular in equipment refurbishments and upgrades," says Pertti Korhonen, President and CEO of Outotec.

 

May 18, 2010 - Finnish mining and metal manufacturing equipment provider Outotec has announced that it has finalized the acquisition of Edmeston AB, a Swedish company specialized in engineering and supply of process equipment used primarily in sulfuric acid plants, after successful completion of the confirmatory due diligence.  SteelOrbis announced Outotec's acquisition of all shares in Edmeston AB on April 29, 2010, which was subject to completion of due dilligence. Edmeston has unique know-how of special stainless steel grades suitable for use in highly corrosive environments. Edmeston's annual revenues are approximately €10 million, and it employs around a dozen professionals.

 

Freeport to begin construction of sulphur plant

 

April 25, 2010 - After a 16-month delay, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold will move ahead with construction of a sulphur-burning plant at the Dos Pobres copper mine at Safford.  The sulphur burner will produce sulfuric acid, which is required in copper recovery from raw ore.  While the sulphur burner is expected to require few new permanent employees, about 250 construction employees will work on the project at its peak, according to Freeport spokesman Richard Peterson. He did not specify how long the project’s “peak” period will be.   The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality approved revisions of Freeport’s air quality permit in the fall of 2008 to allow construction of the sulphur burner. Freeport shelved the project in December 2008 in response to declining economic conditions in the copper industry and the United States economy as a whole.  The project is expected to cost approximately $150 million. Completion of the “highly automated plant” is expected in about a year, Peterson said in an e-mail response to questions from the Courier.  “The plant will burn elemental sulphur that will be brought by railcar to a transfer facility that will be built southeast of Fort Thomas. Sulphur will be transferred from the railcars to trucks for transportation to the sulphur burning plant,” Peterson said.  Although there will be an average of 18 trucks a day, the transport plan is expected to reduce overall track traffic on Highway 70 because every truck of elemental sulphur will replace two trucks of acid, according to Peterson.   He also said the plant will have a capacity of approximately 465,000 tons of sulfuric acid per year.  Waste heat from the sulphur burner will be used to produce 15 megawatts of electric power.This is 10 more than needed to operate the acid plant. The remainder will be used to support part of the electricity demand from the Safford mine.

 

ICIS acquires benchmark sulphur market publications

 

April 12, 2010 - ICIS has announced its acquisition of a portfolio of benchmark sulphur and sulphuric acid market publications and services from PentaSul Inc.Founded in 1990, PentaSul is a publishing and consulting company which specialises in reporting the prices and market developments for sulphur, sulphuric acid and sulphur based products.  Based in Houston, Texas, PentaSul’s weekly and monthly subscription publications have a broad range of subscribers all over the world and deliver essential and independent information to players in the industry. PentaSul customers are made up of major global companies who buy, sell and trade in the fertilizer, chemical and industrial sectors.  PentaSul’s market reports include the monthly North American Sulphur Service and the weekly World Sulphuric Acid Weekly. They cover demand, trading activity, benchmark prices and market related prices as well as company-specific news. Their World Monthly Review publication provides an overview of the global sulphur, sulphuric acid, base metals and phosphate industries.  It contains essential news and intelligence on supply and demand information and plants and projects news for these markets.  As an established provider of benchmark price and news information in the sulphur markets, the acquisition of PentaSul’s publications provides ICIS with the opportunity for greater geographic coverage of international sulphur and fertilizer markets and additional sales points for Pentasul products through the global network of ICIS offices. The acquisition also provides the opportunity to enhance ICIS’ already strong footprint in the fertilizer price reporting market.   ICIS Publishing Director, Christopher Flook said: “The acquisition of PentaSul’s publications provides ICIS with a strong opportunity to extend our coverage of the fertilizer and chemical markets and acquire a benchmark price point for sulphur in the US and Canadian markets.”  Robert Boyd, Publisher and Partner at PentaSul said: “This is an exciting opportunity for PentaSul. The global reach of ICIS and their existing position within the fertilizer and related markets will bring significant benefits to PentaSul and its customers as well as providing the framework of a large organisation to facilitate organic growth.”

April 1, 2010 - The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC; President & CEO: Hiroshi Watanabe) signed on March 31 a loan agreement totaling up to 133,245 thousand US dollars with SKZ-U Limited Liability Partnership (SKZ-U) in the Republic of Kazakhstan.  The loan is co-financed with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (agent bank) and Mizuho Corporate Bank, Ltd., with JBIC providing a partial guarantee for the co-financed portion.  SKZ-U is a joint-venture company which Marubeni Corporation (Marubeni), the Tokyo Electric Power Company, Incorporated (TEPCO) and Toshiba Corporation (Toshiba) have set up jointly with National Atomic Company “Kazatomprom” Joint Stock Company, a state-owned atomic energy company in the Republic of Kazakhstan, and others.  The proceeds of the loan will be used by SKZ-U to construct a sulphuric acid production plant in Kzyl-Orda, southern Kazakhstan.  Sulphuric acid is an essential agent for the uranium mining process.  Sulphuric acid generated by this project will be mostly supplied to the Kharassan project, a uranium development project being undertaken in Kazakhstan by Japanese firms including Marubeni, TEPCO and Toshiba, jointly with Kazatomprom.  This loan will support a supply of sulphuric acid which is essential for Japanese firms' uranium production project in Kazakhstan, thereby ensuring the long-term, stable operation of the project and consequently contributing to the securing of natural uranium resources for Japan.  Kazakhstan is endowed with the world's second largest proven uranium reserves and Kazatomprom is the fourth largest natural uranium producer in the world.   Amid rising interest in measures against global warming, countries around the world including emerging economies are drawing up programs to either restore or newly introduce nuclear power generation.  Against this backdrop, demand for uranium relative to supply is projected to become tight over the coming years, placing Kazakhstan in an ever important position as a resource supplier.  The government of Japan signed an Agreement with Kazakhstan for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy on March 2 this year as part of efforts to strengthen bilateral ties with the country.  JBIC is also striving to secure a stable uranium supply by supporting multiple uranium deposit development projects implemented by Japanese firms in Kazakhstan.  As Japan's official financing institution, JBIC will continue to help cement ties with Kazakhstan, one of the most important resource suppliers in Central Asia, and to support Japanese firms' efforts to develop and acquire interest in significant resources in the country by mobilizing a variety of financial schemes and risk-taking functions. 

Sulphuric acid prices held down by excess supply

April 7, 2010 - Purchasing of sulphuric acid has undergone a "dramatic turnaround" so far this year, according to CRU International, which says "rising demand is evident from the industrial sector, the phosphate fertilizer industry and copper leaching operations."  However, inventories still are well in excess of renewed demand.  So, near-term prices should stay around the $144/ton average of the first quarter and not approach the $200/ton average of 2009, according to the CRU report presented at this week's World Copper Conference in Santiago, Chile.  While there is some tightness in the U.S. acid market, ICISpricing.com says production rates were slightly improved from a month ago. So, there is quite some debate whether spot prices will rise in the second quarter back to $150-$200, as sought by producers.  Another issue is that phosphate fertilizer prices have begun to weaken, "undermining sentiment in the sulphuric acid market," says CRU. "It is too early to say whether the price boom-that brought U.S. market prices up from an average $107/ton in October and November-has come to an end, but market activity is very thin and there are growing indications that further increases may not be sustainable."  The analysis suggests that supply of sulphuric acid is forecast to remain tight. So, drop in prices is unlikely for the next few months. However, the peak application season for phosphate fertilizers is almost over, and stocks of sulphuric acid are expected to gradually increase over the summer. "For this reason, the second half of the year will probably see prices coming down for both products," CRU forecasts.  In another analysis of the world fertilizer market, TD Bank analysts also are cautious about offshore demand due to recent weakness in global crop prices, "which may limit the global demand fertilizer rebound volume and/or price gains."  Source www.purchasing.com

New smelting facility, a Refinery and a Sulphuric Acid Factory planned for Serbia's RTB Bor

April 7, 2010 - Together with Canadian Ambassador to Belgrade John Morrison and representatives of the SNC-Lavalin Company, Dinkic visited the RTB Bor mining complex, for which a new investment cycle has been announced, including the construction of a new smelting facility, a refinery and a sulphuric acid factory.   Dinkic said that the construction of new facilities will be financed via a very favourable loan granted by the Export Development Canada (EDC) bank, in the amount of €135 million. The loan was secured thanks to guarantees provided by the Republic of Serbia, Dinkic noted adding that the contractor is Canadian company SNC-Lavalin.  The Deputy Prime Minister said that this is the most serious investment cycle in the last 30 years, specifying that €27 million will be invested in mining equipment.  During Tuesday's  tour of the Veliki Krivelj open pit, Dinkic officially put a new damper into operation. The new equipment installed includes ten trucks that can transport 220 tonnes each, two excavators, two bulldozers, a drill and a grader.   Investment in this mine is an investment in the future because there will be new jobs for young engineers and new employees, which will contribute to the development of the entire region of eastern Serbia, he said.  He added that this investment will also provide a healthier environment for the citizens of Bor.  It is important to invest in Bor, because copper is a strategic raw material, with its value on the world stock market having recovered faster than that of other metals, said the Minister and explained that copper is increasingly used in the production of clean technologies.  The Minister said that the agreement on financing is to be signed with the EDC by 20 May, after which the document should be ratified in the Serbian parliament.  The EDC’s loan will be granted under very favourable conditions, with a grace period of three years, 14 semi-annual payments and an effective interest rate of approximately 2.9% per annum, concluded Dinkic. Source: Government of Serbia. Source: Government of Serbia

Chile Enami halts operations at largest smelting plant for 10 days

April 6, 2010 - BNamericas reported that Chilean state minerals company Enami will see its Hernán Videla Lira smelting plant's 2010 production reduced by close to 3% as a result of 10 day stoppage at the facility.  Enami said in a filling submitted to securities regulator SVS that the plant, also known as Paipote, stopped operations on March 31st 2010 after a hot gas fan at one of its two sulfuric acid plants failed, something the company was unable to forecast.  The facility, located in northern region III is Chile's oldest smelting plant and Enami's largest, producing close to 350,000 tonne per year of fire refined copper in the form of anodes to be converted into cathodes at state copper producer Codelco's Ventanas refinery in central region V. The site also produces close to 290,000 tonnes per year of sulfuric acid at the 2 plants, which treat sulfur gases coming from the smelting process.

Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd

April 4, 2010 - Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd, country's largest fertilizer manufacture in cooperative sector, has registered a record production during the 2009-10 financial year.  In the fiscal that has passed by, the Paradip-based IFFCO plant, since its acquisition from a sick private ownership on 2005, recorded the highest ever fertilizer production to the tune of 15,00,000 MT, according to M R Patel, Executive Director, IFFCO Paradip unit.  In a major turnaround, the fertilizer unit has also registered impressive growth in Phosphoric Acid and Sulphuric Acid production in 2009-10 fiscal Patel claimed.  While 4,62,000 MT phosphoric acid was produced at the plant, the unit recorded 14,28,290 MT Sulphuric Acid production, he said.  Listing out the achievement made by the cooperative fertilizer manufacturing unit, Patel informed that IFFCO Paradip has generated 3,12,420 MWH of Power in the in its captive power plant during financial year 2009-10. At a time when the state is starved of power resources, IFFCO has come to the need of the state by supplying 24,778 MWH power.  The financial year that has gone by is an eventful one with the plant bagging prestigious National Energy conservation award. IFFCO, Paradip is also the recipient of ‘improvement in overall performance' and ‘best technical innovation' awards from fertilizer association of India.  The IFFCO Paradip is sticking to industrial safety standards and its pollution control mechanism is one of best in fertilizer sectors in the country, Patel claimed.  But contrary to claims, the fertilizer-manufacturing unit is now faced with accusation of discharge of toxic gaseous substances in the air affecting residents of at least three GPs in Kendrapara district.  Kendrapara district administration has ordered an inquiry into the alleged emission of toxic gas in the air. The PRI members of Ramnagar, Kharinasi and Barakanda GPs located at the close periphery of the fertilizer plant had recently drawn the attention of district administration alleging that toxic emission is causing health hazard in their localities.

Uranium One mulls participation in second Kazakh acid plant

March 12, 2010 - Uranium miner Uranium One is investigating the possibility of becoming a partner in another new sulphuric acid plant in Kazakhstan, CEO Jean Nortier told Mining Weekly Online on Thursday.  Although the company is not concerned with the actual availability of sulphuric acid in the country, it has warned that the logistical supply lines are “stretched”, particularly as a number of projects and expansions ramp up.  Kazakhstan is expected to become the top uranium producer this year, overtaking Canada.  Nortier emphasised that Uranium One continues to receive the acid supplies it needs each week for  its in situ leach operations, but said there is a concern that road conditions or low availability of trucks or storage facilities could result in a temporary interruption.   The company is working with other producers in Kazakhstan to address the issue, including by establishing new storage facilities where the acid gets offloaded from the rail trucks before it is loaded onto road trucks, and improving the quality of the roads over which the acid is shipped, he said.  “And we are investigating the possibility of being partners in the construction of an additional sulphuric acid plant,” he said in an interview.  Uranium One already has a 19% interest in a new 500 000 t/y acid plant that is under construction near its Kharasan operation.  “For this additional one, we are still talking to potential partners, so there's nothing on the table that I can actually give concrete details on,” Nortier said.  He said he expects most of the pressure on the acid logistics lines to have been released by the end of this year.  Uranium One produces uranium from mines in Kazakhstan, and owns 51% of the Honeymoon project, in Australia, as well as some processing facilities and deposits in the US.

Mitsubishi Materials May Run Smelters at Full Capacity in Japan

March 10, 2010 - Mitsubishi Materials Corp., Japan’s third-largest copper producer, may run its two domestic smelters at full capacity in the next fiscal year, in contrast to plans by two rivals to keep production cuts, an executive said.  “At the moment, that’s the plan,” Kenichi Watase, general manager in the Tokyo-based company’s sales department, said in an interview today. Watase declined to elaborate as the company expects to issue its output targets for April to September early next month. The producer planned to make 300,000 metric tons in the year ending March 31.  Prices of copper, used in pipes and cables, more than doubled in the past year as the global economy recovered from its worst postwar recession. BHP Billiton Ltd. and Freeport- McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. won a 38 percent cut in 2010 processing fees from smelters as raw material supplies tightened after China expanded capacity.  Pan Pacific Copper Co. and Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. have said they may keep production cuts in the year from April 1 because of the lower fees.  Mitsubishi Materials operates the Onahama smelter, to the north of Tokyo, with a capacity of 258,000 tons, and the Naoshima smelter, in western Japan, with 225,000 tons. The company has a 50 percent stake in the Onahama smelter.  The company “is flexible on adjusting production based on the market situation in coming months” given the reduced fees and uncertain demand outlook at home and abroad, Watase said. “We don’t know whether a recovery in demand from the auto sector will continue after subsidies end later this year.”

“After domestic demand plunged last year to the lowest level since 1975, we’ve seen a recovery in some sectors, including cars and semiconductors, not from overall industries,” in recent months, Watase said.   The Japanese government has extended the subsidy program, which was set to expire at the end of March, for six months through September. Electric, hybrid, natural-gas, and some diesel vehicles qualify for an exemption from the country’s weight and purchase taxes.  Exports to China “will depend on Chinese government policies and the price difference between the Shanghai market and the London Metal Exchange,” Watase said. “In my personal view, China’s demand growth would remain steady this year.”

Asked if Mitsubishi Materials saw any change in the market for sulfuric acid, a byproduct for copper smelting, Watase said demand has recovered from fertilizer makers and mining companies.  “We’ve seen good demand for the fertilizer sector in North America as the planting season for grain crops starts soon,” Watase said. Sulfuric acid supplies have been tight since early January as demand jumped after a recession slashed stockpiles held by fertilizer makers and mining, he said.  The value of sulfuric acid, used to dissolve metal ore and produce fertilizer, has gone from worthless to “crazy” this year, increasing costs for mining companies, according to London-based researcher CRU Group said.  Demand from fertilizer makers, normally about half of world sulfuric acid consumption, has risen as higher prices for their products prompted companies to rebuild stocks, Joanne Peacock, an analyst at CRU, said March 8. 

Doe Run Peru reach a positive Letter of Intent with Glencore

March 1, 2010 - Doe Run Peru S.R.L. has reached a Letter of Intent with Glencore to support the re-start of metallurgical operations in La Oroya, Peru.  Through this Letter of Intent, Glencore will supply a line of credit that may be used as a working capital facility to help re-start the La Oroya Metallurgical Complex and as part of the financing that will allow for the completion of the Environmental Adjustment and Management Plan (PAMA) that Doe Run Peru has agreed with the Government of Peru.  This Letter of Intent has closed an important step in the process to restart operations in La Oroya. Doe Run Peru will continue to strengthen its efforts to make this re-start come true in the shortest time possible.  The company has ratified its intention to build a long term solution to continue to meet its environmental commitments and further improve the quality of life for the population and the future generations.

Outotec to Deliver 116 Million Euro Copper Plant for Codelco in Chile

March 1, 2010 - Outotec has signed a contract with Codelco for the design and delivery of a copper concentrate roasting plant, gas cleaning system and sulfuric acid plant for Codelco’s new Mina Ministro Hales mine close to Calama, Northern Chile. The contract price is approximately EUR 116 million.  Outotec’s turn-key plant delivery includes basic and detail engineering, proprietary and process equipment, installation and start up services. Outotec and Codelco also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for two years’ operation and maintenance of the new plant.  The new plant will treat annually up to 550,000 tonnes of copper concentrate and it will produce approximately 250,000 tonnes of sulfuric acid. The plant is scheduled to be commissioned in early 2012.  “Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, has been our business partner for decades. The company has high standards for operational safety and environmental requirements. This significant order demonstrates their confidence in the sustainability of our technologies and project execution competence”, says Pertti Korhonen, President and CEO of Outotec.