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Sulphuric Acid - NEWS
Updated December 28, 2014

 

2014

First Quantum shuts Australia nickel plant after acid spill 
BASF and Jiahua link in electronics-grade sulfuric acid project in China
Outotec to revamp and upgrade the Potrerillos copper smelter and sulfuric acid plant for Codelco in Chile
Mississippi Phosphates to stop fertilizer production, layoffs reported 
Solvay sells sulphuric acid supplying Eco Services segment to CCMP Capital Advisors

White Springs firm part of $50 million settlement over federal pollution claim
Potash Ridge Enters Into Offtake and Marketing Arrangement for Sulphuric Acid Production from Its Blawn Mountain Sulphate of Potash Project
Calabrian Announces SO2 Price Increase

ASARCO plans $100 million upgrade of Hayden smelter to meet new EPA sulfur dioxide emission limits; Project not expected to disrupt operation of plant or employees’ hours
China General Nuclear Plans Acid Plant at Namibian Uranium Mine
Zimplats to Invest U.S. $80 Million in Acid Plant

Solvay agreed to sell its sulphuric acid operation
Peru's La Oroya Smelter Creditors to seek sale by December
Vale fined for 2012 sulfur dust explosion
Glencore finishes work to stop toxic sulphur pollution at Zambian copper mine
AspenTech Acquires Sulsim Software from Sulphur Experts
Ma’aden Selects MECS® Sulfuric Acid Technology from DuPont Sustainable Solutions for Phosphate Fertilizer Complex
SNC-Lavalin wins contract for large-scale sulphuric acid project in Saudi Arabia
EPA proposes pollution control at Arizona facilities
Chemtrade Announces Closing of the General Chemical Acquisition 
Codelco to build new molybdenum plant in Chile
Outotec wins €100m orders in Turkey


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

 

First Quantum shuts Australia nickel plant after acid spill 

December 15, 2014 - Canada's First Quantum Minerals has shut its 38,000-tonnes-per-year Ravensthorpe nickel plant in Australia following an acid spill, which is under investigation.  The rupture of a one of several tanks containing sulphuric acid used to leach nickel late on Sunday caused an undetermined amount of the hazardous slurry to spill into a contained area of the plant 550 kilometres (340 miles) southeast of Perth in Western Australia state, company spokesman Dave Coggin said.  Coggin could not immediately say if a declaration of force majeure would be invoked protecting First Quantum from interruptions to sales obligations.  "The spill resulting from the failure has been contained within the plant's protective bunded area," Coggin said, adding that there were no reports of injuries, with all staff accounted for. Sulphuric acid for the leaching process is produced on site.  "The plant is currently shut down and on the basis of information received to date, no adverse environmental effects are anticipated," he said.  While all staff have remained on site, no date has been set for a restart, pending the findings of the investigation, according to the spokesman.  First Quantum acquired the Ravensthorpe nickel project from BHP Billiton in 2009 and following extensive rehabilitation restarted the operation in 2011.  This year, the facility was set to meet it full production target of 38,000 tonnes, according to the spokesman.  LME nickel prices were up 0.3 percent on Monday. Any market impact in metals markets from the shutdown is likely to be muted in the short term given a global supply glut of the metal, used mainly in making stainless steel. Near-record inventories of more than 400,000 tonnes are stacked in London Metal Exchange warehouses.  BHP continues to produce nickel at an annual rate of close to 100,000 tonnes at its nearby Nickel West operation. Glencore also operates a nickel-making plant in Western Australia, churning out more than 30,000 tonnes a year.  Raw nickel produced at the Ravensthorpe site is bought primarily by metals refining companies in China and India.

BASF and Jiahua link in electronics-grade sulfuric acid project in China

December 15, 2014 - BASF and Jiahua Energy Chemical Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Huafang Textile Co., have signed an agreement to set up a new sulfuric acid plant at the seaport town of Zhapu, Zhejiang Province, China. BASF will begin the groundwork to build its new electronics-grade sulfuric acid production facility at the Jiahua production site at Zhapu. Jiahua will be the key raw material supplier for the new BASF plant. Construction is scheduled to begin within the next year and the plant is expected to start up in 2016.

Outotec to revamp and upgrade the Potrerillos copper smelter and sulfuric acid plant for Codelco in Chile

December 8, 2014 - Outotec to revamp and upgrade the Potrerillos copper smelter and sulfuric acid plant for Codelco in Chile    Outotec has been awarded a contract to revamp and upgrade the Potrerillos copper smelter and sulfuric acid plant of Codelco Salvador Division in northern Chile, in order to comply with the new Chilean environmental regulations that are due to come into force in 2018. The value of the order is approximately EUR 64 million, of which one third has been booked in Outotec's third quarter order intake and the rest in the fourth quarter 2014 order intake. Outotec's scope of delivery includes detailed engineering of the revamp, equipment supply and technical assistance during the construction, commissioning and start up of the smelter and acid plant. Equipment deliveries consist of, among other things, gas collecting hoods for the existing converters, revamp of the dry electrostatic and wet precipitators and gas ducts, a catalytic converter and an effluent treatment plant with additional water management plant equipment. "This is a good example of how Codelco and Outotec work together, combining their efforts to secure business sustainability and the necessary care of environment in a profitable way", said Kimmo Kontola, head of Outotec'sAmericas region. "Through advanced technology we can extend the life cycle of our customers' facilities. Specialized technical services are always part of a long-term business relationship with our customers, providing added value beyond equipment supply", added Robin Lindahl, head of Outotec's Metals, Energy & Water business area.

Mississippi Phosphates to stop fertilizer production, layoffs reported 

December 5, 2014 - Mississippi Phosphates, a major fertilizer producer in east Jackson County that has been plagued with environmental issues in recent years, announced today it will be stopping production of Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) early next week.  Sulfuric acid operations will continue for several days in order for the company to establish inventory needed to support on-going wastewater treatment needs, a statement from the company said.  The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Gulfport in October.  The company, which employs about 200, announced a new CEO in August and that it had moved its corporate headquarters to the Pascagoula plant, located along the heavily industrial Bayou Casotte.  A spokesman for Mississippi Phosphates, a wholly owned subsidiary of Phosphate Holdings, Inc., said sulfuric acid operations will continue at the plant for several days in order for the company to establish inventory needed to support on-going wastewater treatment needs.  A landmark of the plant is the huge piles of spent sulfuric acid byproduct, an industrial type of gypsum, the acidic runoff of which must be maintained by a wastewater system.  State and federal environmental agencies have expressed concern that if the company failed, maintaining the spent sulfuric acid stacks would become an expensive proposition.  "The company will continue with other aspects of its core operations, including ammonia terminaling operations, maintenance, security and environmental controls," said Mississippi Phosphates CEO Steve Russo. "At this time, we do not know when DAP production might resume. The company is actively seeking buyers for its assets while we continue to move forward with the other elements of our bankruptcy case."  Workforce reductions will occur over the next two weeks, with approximately 50 employees remaining on hand to perform the remaining core operations.  On Tuesday, Mississippi Phosphates and representatives from the state held workforce transition meetings for all employees who were laid off at the company's Pascagoula facilities to assist them in finding jobs.  Mississippi Phosphates is a Delaware corporation that operates the facilities in Pascagoula that produces DAP, the most common form of phosphate fertilizer for all major row crops, and sulfuric acid, as well as for the storage and terminalling of ammonia and sulfuric acid.

 

Solvay sells sulphuric acid supplying Eco Services segment to CCMP Capital Advisors

 

December 4, 2014 - The Belgian chemicals company has spun off the sulphuric acid refining and producing segment as part of a strategic drive to increase returns on its assets. CCMP will take over a successful unit, which supplies to some of the largest refineries in the US.  New York, US-headquartered CCMP Capital Advisors LLC has acquired the sulphuric acid producing Eco Services business unit of Brussels, Belgium-based Solvay SA.  CCMP said that the New Jersey, US-headquartered Eco Services unit, which had 2013 revenues of €288m ($357.1m*) will continue to manufacture fresh, high purity sulphuric acid products. CCMP Capital Advisors (CCMP) has completed its acquisition of Solvay's Eco Services business for $890m.  The sale forms part of Solvay's strategy to achieve higher growth and greater returns.  Headquartered in Cranbury, New Jersey, US, the sulphuric acid virgin production and regeneration business recycles spent sulphuric acid and supplies it to refineries in the West Coast, Midwest, the Gulf of Mexico and Canada.  The Eco Services company caters to mining, water treatment and other chemical processing segments, from its six manufacturing plants.  The company generated revenues of €288m in 2013 and has a workforce of more than 500.  In July, Solvay and CCMP signed an agreement for the acquisition transaction.  Solvay CEO Jean-Pierre Clamadieu earlier said: "Eco Services has a market-leading position and generates stable cash flows, but its business profile differs from Solvay's strategic ambitions.  "CCMP Capital is committed to working with the management team to make the investments necessary to support the long-term growth of the business."  CCMP is focused on equity investments of about $500m in North American and European markets, and primarily invests in consumer / retail, industrial, energy and healthcare sectors.  Meanwhile, Solvay said it has increased its resin production capacity by 25% at its facility in the state of Gujarat, India, to meet the demand for polymers.

White Springs firm part of $50 million settlement over federal pollution claim


November 6, 2014 - Federal officials said Thursday they struck a deal with a fertilizer company that owns plants in White Springs and in two other states to spend about $50 million improving air-pollution controls.The settlement with the Canadian firm Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan was sparked by complaints that White Springs Agricultural Chemicals Inc. and two other subsidiaries in Louisiana and North Carolina violated the Clean Air Act at plants that made sulfuric acid.White Springs is in Hamilton County along the Suwannee River, just over an hour’s drive west of Jacksonville off Interstate 10. The area meets federal clean-air standards.The agreement “will ensure cleaner air for citizens across the Southeast and will send a strong signal to the industry that noncompliance has serious consequences,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Sam Hirsch from the Justice Department’s environmental division.In addition to the plant improvements, the settlement requires the plant owners to pay a $1.3 million fine.The deal was the largest agreement so far between the government and sulfuric acid producers, whose factories release sulfur dioxide in their emissions.“Large industrial facilities that break the law and pollute the air will be held accountable,” Cynthia Giles, an assistant administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration, said via email.Improvements on the pollution controls are expected to prevent release of 12,600 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions yearly at the plants, according to the EPA, as well as 430 tons of ammonia and 60 tons of nitrogen oxide.A suit the government filed Thursday in Louisiana said the plants operated for years without the “best available control technology.”About $14 million will be spent at White Springs on new controls for two plants, said company spokesman Mike Williams. He said the company disagreed with EPA’s complaint, but decided reaching the agreement matched the company’s sense of environmental stewardship. He said the White Springs plants met their permit standards.

Potash Ridge Enters Into Offtake and Marketing Arrangement for Sulphuric Acid Production from Its Blawn Mountain Sulphate of Potash Project

October 3, 2014 - Potash Ridge Corporation today announced that a subsidiary of Potash Ridge has entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding regarding a potential offtake and marketing arrangement with a third party marketer for the sulphuric acid production from its Blawn Mountain Project.  Under the terms of the Arrangement, Potash Ridge will grant either exclusive marketing rights or offtake for 100% of its sulphuric acid production to the Marketer, on such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon by both parties and subject to execution of definitive agreements.  Guy Bentinck, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are delighted to have entered into this arrangement with a highly regarded third party sulphuric acid marketer.  This arrangement represents yet another significant step in executing the commercial aspects of the Project and reflects the robust demand and growth for sulphuric acid in the United States." www.marketwired.com

Calabrian Announces SO2 Price Increase

 

September 25, 2014 - Calabrian Corporation, the largest prime producer of liquid sulfur dioxide and related derivatives in North America, announced that effective Oct. 15, or when permissible by contract, it will increase the price of sulfur dioxide by $100 per short ton. The increase is reflective of the sulfur dioxide market, which has tightened considerably, as a result of strong demand and reduced availability of byproduct material.  "This price increase will support our continued investment in our SO2 and derivatives business," said Jeffrey Hammerstrom, director of business development. "Our expansion of SO2 production will enable Calabrian to provide our customers with a reliable, on purpose, source of sulfur dioxide to meet their needs and allow Calabrian to strengthen its market leading position in SO2, sodium metabisulfite, and other sulfur derivatives."  In July, Calabrian announced plans to expand production of SO2 at its Port Neches, Texas, plant. The multimillion-dollar expansion, using the company's proprietary SO2Clean technology, is expected to be online by the end of the year.

Namibia: Dundee Invests N$3 Billion to Reduce Sulphuric Acid Emissions 

September 24, 2014 - Dundee Precious Metals in Tsumeb has welcomed the release of the recent government medical report which independently assessed the health of more than 1 700 past and present smelter workers.  Dundee has invested over N$3 billion in modern arsenic-handling facilities and in a sulphuric acid (SO2) manufacturing plant to reduce SO2 emissions.  Dundee has worked with the government and the health assessment team since the survey was announced in 2011.  "We are committed to implementing the recommendations of the report to further minimise health impacts on our workers and the community," said Hans Nolte, the general manager at Dundee. The company acquired the smelter in 2010.  "There are no cases of cancer attributable to arsenic exposure or any other employment-related exposure at the smelter. This is contrary to some media reports which have misquoted the report," he said.  Nolte said besides skin rashes being potentially linked in some cases to individual arsenic exposure sensitivity, the survey found no other potential arsenic-related occupational health problems such as lung, liver, blood, or other occupational diseases.  "There are incidences of occupationally induced skin rashes. Dundee has medical and operational protocols in place to deal with skin rashes whether caused by arsenic exposure or the use of personal protective equipment in hot and humid conditions," he said.  Nolte said there are a number of long-term employees or ex-employees with hearing loss which may be occupational. In cases where this hearing loss is confirmed by independent tests to be linked to the smelter, employees will be assessed for compensation under Dundee's government- and union-mandated policies, he said.  Health problems unrelated to occupational exposure were reported among the surveyed employees, he said.  "Dundee believes that the health impact of the smelter is low and is declining continually and significantly," he said.


ASARCO plans $100 million upgrade of Hayden smelter to meet new EPA sulfur dioxide emission limits; Project not expected to disrupt operation of plant or employees’ hours


August 27, 2014 - Plans for a $110 million upgrade of the Hayden copper smelter that will bring the apparatus in compliance with new federal regulations concerning emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO
2) have been filed by owner ASARCO/Grupo Mexico with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).  The rules issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) require that SO2 emissions from the smelter be reduced from 140 ppb (parts per billion) to 75 ppd during a 24-hour period. The Hayden smelter has until Oct. 3, 2018 to meet this standard.  Meeting the standard is important to keep the Hayden copper smelting plant operating and providing employment for residents of the Hayden/Winkleman area.  To meet EPA’s goal, the plan ASARCO filed on June 24 with ADEQ describes a converter retrofit project that will replace the smelter’s five current 13-ft. diameter converters with three 15-ft. diameter converters. Also included in the plan are the installation of improved primary and secondary hoods, and an electrostatic precipitator for solids removal prior to SO2 recapture at the smelter’s existing acid plants. Larger ladles (300 cu. ft. instead of 200 cu. ft.) will be installed to reduce the number of hot metal transfers. Additional upgrades will capture secondary gases and direct them to the acid plant for conversion to a sulfuric acid product.  Overall the plan aims to reduce SO2 emissions at the Hayden smelter by 85 percent, with a total SO2 capture rate of 99.7 percent of what is produced during the copper smelting process.  The plans were made public during a meeting of the Arizona House Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources held Aug. 22 at the Gila Community College Pueblo Campus in Globe.  ADEQ is expected to rule on the ASARCO plan by late September. If approved the plan will then go to EPA for an additional 45-day comment period. With EPA approval, ASARCO could begin work on the upgrades before year’s end.  Work on the converter retrofit will be performed as to not disrupt the operation of the smelter and keep all employees working their regular daily schedules, said Krishna Parameswaran, director of environmental services and compliance assurances at ASARCO. The smelting plant must operate within the EPA emission limits by Oct. 3, 2018.  The smelter and surrounding operations are an important parts of the Hayden economy. It employs 1,400 hourly and salaried workers, who are annually paid $140.8 million in wages, salaries and fringe benefits. The operations also generate $28.6 million in property, severance and sales taxes. The company annually generates spending of $345.8 million on materials, fuel and supplies into the Arizona economy.  Each year the Hayden smelter produces more than 300 million tons of copper that is important in all electrical products, electronic equipment, and even bringing electricity to homes, according to Kelly Norton, president of the Arizona Mining Association. The smelter also products more than 575,000 short tons of sulfuric acid each year.  Although originally built in 1912, the Hayden smelter has been expanded and upgraded on a regular basis, with the last major renovations taking place in 1989 and 1996. In 2012, ASARCO voluntarily undertook a $10 million project to reduce lead emissions through the addition of a monitor system to keep lead emissions to within EPA rules issued in 2008 that trimmed allowable emission levels to one-tenth of the former standard.  The EPA-required Hayden smelter renovation projects comes only a step behind a more expensive project for the smelter in Miami owned by Freeport-McMoRan. Budgeted at $450 million, the Miami smelter will receive new converter mouth covers, converter aisle canopy hoods and aisle scrubbers, an anode plant bag house and a smelter furnace upgrade to meet EPA SO2 emission limits.  Freeport-McMoRan received its permit on July 21 and has begun renovation work that could be completed by the end of 2017. The Miami smelter, which was originally built in 1915, also has undergone numerous upgrades, expansions and renovations in the interim.  Norton emphasized at the meeting that copper smelting is an important contributor to the Arizona economy. At present there are only three copper smelting plants in the US and two are in Arizona (Hayden and Miami). The third is in Salt Lake County, UT, Norton noted. (www.copperarea.com)

China General Nuclear Plans Acid Plant at Namibian Uranium Mine

August 20, 2014 - China General Nuclear Power Holding Corp., the country’s biggest producer of nuclear energy, will start building a sulfuric-acid plant next month at its Husab uranium mine in Namibia.  The facility will have capacity to produce 1,500 metric tons of acid daily, or about 500,000 tons annually, Grant Marais, a spokesman for CGNP’s Namibian unit Swakop Uranium, said yesterday in an e-mailed response to questions. Sulfuric acid is used to extract metal from ore. Uranium is a fuel for nuclear energy. Namibia is the largest uranium producer after Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia.  “The plant will be ready to produce when the processing plant comes on stream end of 2015,” Marais said. The cost of the facility ‘is classified but falls well within the budgeted total project cost,’’ he said. Husab will use all the output from the planned plant and any additional needs “would be supplemented through imports,” he said.  The $2 billion Husab operation, which started in May, will have the potential to produce 15 million pounds of uranium and will eventually supply China only. Construction of a processing plant is going to plan and production will start at end of 2015. Husab will have the potential to produce 15 million pounds of uranium oxide when fully operational in 2017.  The mine is in the ‘process of very early discussions with potential off-takers targeting utilities which have a long-term strategic outlook on the uranium market’, Marais said.


Zimplats to Invest U.S. $80 Million in Acid Plant

 

August 4, 2014 - Zimplats plans to invest about $80 million towards the setting up of sulphur dioxide acid plant that will improve the company's environmental impact and compliance.  An acid plant is used for the reduction of sulphur dioxide emissions from the smelter especially in platinum mining.  Since the promulgation of the new air quality legislation in Africa, sulphur dioxide has been a pollutant of concern especially in the heavily industrial South African regions and the impact of these emissions have been exacerbated by the poor atmospheric dispersion by some companies.  Zimplats parent company Implats group corporate relations manager Mrs Alice Lourens confirmed the intentions of the company to set up an acid plant.  "The SO2 acid plant is in the planning stage with an approximate cost of US$80 million and this plant is set to improve the company's environmental impact and compliance," said Mr Lourens.  Mr Lourens said the two projects (The acid plant and the base metal refinery) will take around three years to complete and any possible expansion phases beyond these two initiatives are in the very early stages of technical consideration.  The projects among other things will depend on the business environment and the state of the PGM industry," said Mrs Lourens.  She said the projects will be financed through internal cash flows.  The Implats board has approved the $110 million base metals refinery upgrade and work has commenced.  Beneficiating the platinum to matte enables producers to realise 88,5 percent of potential revenue, at BMR stage they get 89,7 percent, rising to 90 percent at precious metal stage.  Zimplats was also working with fellow miner RioZim to rehabilitate and expand its Empress Nickel Refinery to process by-products from the BMR.  Zimplats revenue in the quarter to June 2014 increased 21 percent to $166,9 million from $137.8 million in the previous quarter due to an increase in sales volumes and firming nickel prices.  This saw the group achieving a 39 percent increase in operating profit at $50 million compared to last quarter $36.1 million.  www.allafrica.com


Solvay agreed to sell its sulphuric acid operation

July 31, 2014 - Solvay SA (SOLB) agreed to sell its sulphuric acid operation serving the mining industry to private equity firm CCMP Capitol Advisors LLC in a deal valued at $890 million.  The buyout firm is paying “just over” eight times adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the last 12 months through June, Solvay said in a statement today.  Chief Executive Officer Jean-Pierre Clamadieu is delivering a deal ahead of a year-end deadline to announce a buyer for the business, as he looks to enhance the Belgian company’s focus and profitability. Separately, Solvay reiterated today it expects high single-digit percentage earnings growth this year.  “Eco Services has a market leading position and generates stable cash flows, but its business profile differs from Solvay’s strategic ambitions,” said Clamadieu.  Sales in the second-quarter rose 2 percent to 2.64 billion euros, driven by higher volumes. Recurring earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 10 percent to 485 million euros, buoyed by an acquisition to expand in oil-field chemicals that performed better than expectations, and advanced materials. (Bloomberg)

Peru's La Oroya Smelter Creditors to seek sale by December

June 18, 2014 - A group of creditors for Peru's La Oroya metallurgical complex aim to put the zinc-lead smelter up for sale by December, an official said.  The former Doe Run Perú unit, which restarted zinc and lead operations in 2012 after bankruptcy halted operations for three years, is also holding talks with Trafigura Beheer and Glencore to secure lead supplies after slumping metals prices discouraged suppliers from selling concentrates to the smelter, said Rocío Chávez, representative of smelter administrator Right Business.  Creditors including Glencore, Trafigura, Pan American Silver, Buenaventura, El Brocal and Volcan, who last year hired Swiss investment bank UBS to sell the La Oroya complex and its Cobriza copper mine, met June 9 in Lima to discuss the sale, Chávez told BNamericas Wednesday.  "According to the timetable for the sale of Doe Run's assets presented by UBS, between November and December we should identify the operator interested in signing the transfer contract," Chávez said. "But there isn't a definite date."  About 444 of the smelter's 4,000-strong workforce have accepted incentives to retire as part of a cost cutting plan, Chávez said. However, the steady decline in copper prices has sparked "millions" in losses, as the Cobriza copper mine accounts for most of the smelter's revenues, Chávez said.  If talks with concentrates suppliers are unsuccessful, Right Business will inform the board of creditors, which should reach a decision at its next meeting in mid-July, she said. The smelter owes about US$600mn to a group of about 100 creditors.  "After metals prices fell in March, Doe Run's finances felt a major impact and we have a negative cash flow in 2014," Chávez said. "That meant suppliers didn't want to provide us with concentrates until the situation improves."  La Oroya, the only poly-metallic smelter in South America, can produce 122,000t/y of lead and 43,000t/y zinc, according to Peru's energy and mines ministry (MEM). Cobriza produced 19,578t copper in 2013.  Built in 1922 by the Cerro de Pasco Corporation, and acquired in 1997 in a privatization process by Doe Run, La Oroya halted its operations in 2009 after metals prices collapsed. La Oroya has the capacity to produce a dozen different metals, including copper and silver, but failure to meet environmental standards has shuttered the copper circuit. (BN Americas)

Vale fined for 2012 sulfur dust explosion


June 13, 2014 -
A court has fined Vale Canada $150,000 following a Ministry of Labour investigation into a sulfur dust explosion in 2012 that sent two workers to the hospital.  On Oct. 18 of that year, there was a sulfur dust explosion and fire in one of the research stations in the company's refinery located at 187 Davis St. in Port Colborne.  There were five workers on site at the time of the explosion.  The research station was a test plant to produce specialized sulfur agglomerates or briquettes for Vale's subsidiary Indonesia operation.  At the time, the building had just been built and was up and running for less than a month. The workers were on contract from an employment agency.  According to a Ministry release, the raw materials used in the process included powdered sulfur, and there was no indication any part of the operation was being done incorrectly.  Although the company was still in test run phase, the facility was gradually increasing both the size and run of product on the day of the explosion. Witnesses observed increasing dust levels.  The Ministry notes that in powdered form, sulfur is explosive.  Workers were hit by the force of the explosion and were struck by flying debris. Some workers fell to the floor and some had their clothing burnt.  Though they were wearing proper protective gear, including half-masks, glasses, safety boots, leather gloves and earplugs, there were still injuries. These included second-degree burns, bruising and muscle soreness.  The investigation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act determined there was a lack of adequate sulfur dust control and that the company failed to eliminate all potential sources of ignition. This created a risk of explosion and the fire, investigators determined.  A Ministry engineer found that the most likely source of ignition was friction or static discharged inside of a conveyor. This would likely produce a flammable mixture of sulfur dust and air in an area without a system of ventilation that would clear out the dust. There was also a lack of vents, baffles, chokes, dampers or other means to reduce the effects of any explosion.  As well, there wasn't enough material used to blanket the equipment in the event of a fire.  Vale Canada Ltd. pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by law were carried out in the workplace.  The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Brett A. Kelly. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act.


Glencore finishes work to stop toxic sulphur pollution at Zambian copper mine

April 2, 2014 - Glencore has finally finished work to stop toxic sulphur pollution at a Zambian copper mine, after missing an earlier deadline to complete the job.  The group’s Mopani subsidiary will announce within days that it has finished a £300m upgrade to a copper smelter that will ensure 97 per cent of sulphur dioxide gas is captured.  It comes after the Daily Mail revealed how locals’ lives have been blighted by regular gas emissions, causing health problems and soil contamination.  Glencore initially planned to solve the problem by 2015.  But the firm brought the deadline forward to the end of 2013 amid intense pressure from campaign groups.  The company missed the new deadline, but boss Ivan Glasenberg later vowed that efforts to end pollution at Mopani would be finished by the end of March.   Sophie Powell, Africa policy chief at Christian Aid, said ‘it is shameful that it has taken Glencore 14 years to fix the devastating air pollution caused by its mine’.  She added that people in the nearby town of Kankoyo have reported damage to their homes caused by pollution and urged Glencore (up 0.35p to 309.15p) to pay towards rehousing townspeople.


AspenTech Acquires Sulsim Software from Sulphur Experts

April 2, 2014 - Aspen Technology, Inc., a leading provider of software and services to the process industries, announced it has acquired Sulsim sulfur simulation software from Sulphur Experts. The Sulsim sulfur recovery product has been used by the world's leading energy companies for over 25 years.Sulfur recovery is performed in almost every refinery and gas plant processing high sulfur feeds. Regulatory policies require the removal of sulfur from gas produced by these plants. With Sulsim, process engineers can model the reaction furnace, reactors, incinerator, and other related operations of sulfur recovery plants accurately. Because this is the last step in acid gas cleaning, accurate modeling is essential since any disturbance will bottleneck the process flow causing reduced throughput and heavy losses.AspenTech's Aspen HYSYS software, a leading simulation solution for the energy industry, already provides modeling capabilities for process equipment and for acid gas cleaning systems. Sulsim technology reportedly will allow AspenTech customers for the first time to optimize acid gas cleaning and sulfur recovery design and operations together. Potential benefits for refiners and gas processors from using a single engineering environment include improved efficiency, capital savings, safer operation, and minimized operating costs.

Ma’aden Selects MECS® Sulfuric Acid Technology from DuPont Sustainable Solutions for Phosphate Fertilizer Complex


March 4, 2014 - DuPont Sustainable Solutions is pleased to announce that MECS, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of DuPont, has been awarded the sulfuric acid technology license by the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) for its Waad Al Shamal Phosphate Project. MECS, Inc. will provide the sulfuric acid technology and proprietary equipment for this three-line, 15,150 metric-tonne-per-day sulfuric acid facility. Ma’aden has selected a consortium led by long-time MECS licensee, SNC Lavalin Group Inc., to perform engineering, procurement and construction of the sulfuric acid and power segments of the complex.
  When operational in 2016, the facility will be one of the largest world-class phosphate fertilizer complexes, positioning Ma’aden as a significant global producer of fertilizers and other phosphate-based products. “We are proud to partner with Ma’aden and SNC on this landmark project and look forward to supporting Ma’aden in its endeavor to be a world-class minerals enterprise,” said Kirk Schall, vice president of Licensing, MECS, Inc.

SNC-Lavalin wins contract for large-scale sulphuric acid project in Saudi Arabia

February 4, 2014 - SNC-Lavalin in consortium with Sinopec Engineering Group (SEG), has signed a contract with Ma'aden in Saudi Arabia to provide engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and start-up services for a three-line 15,150-metric-tonne-per-day sulphuric acid plant. Also included in the agreement are two 75-MW power plants that will recover heat generated by the acid plant operations. The total value of the contract is approximately USD$764 million with SNC-Lavalin's portion estimated at USD$500 million.The project was awarded as part of Ma'aden's Waad Al Shamal Phosphate Project, which involves the conversion of phosphate ore from the Al Khabra mine into various end products, primarily for the agricultural sector. The contract signing was formalized at a ceremony held in Turaif, Saudi Arabia today with the participation of the Saudi Royal Family, Government Ministers and various dignitaries.The sulphuric acid plant will use industry leading technology from MECS, Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of DuPont) to produce acid and generate power through the efficient recovery of process waste heat. The project, scheduled to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2016, will be one of the largest complexes of its kind."We are honoured to be part of a project that will support Ma'aden in its mandate to develop its mineral resources and increase industrial development in the Northern Province and Al-Jouf areas of Saudi Arabia," said Dale Clarke, Executive Vice-President, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.SNC-Lavalin is a longstanding leader in the sulphuric acid industry, having successfully installed more than 60 plants around the world over the past 25 years.
Maaden also signed the contract for building a phosphoric acid plant worth SR3,506 million ($935 million) to Hanwha Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd & Hanwha Saudi Contracting Co. Ltd. The phosphoric acid plant which will consist of three phosphoric acid lines when completed will have a production capacity of 1.5 million tons. 

EPA proposes pollution control at Arizona facilities


January 28, 2014 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing pollution controls at six facilities in Arizona to improve visibility at national parks and wilderness areas.The San Francisco-based EPA is proposing a federal plan to limit emissions such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide tailored to the facilities.The six are Tucson Electric Power's Sundt Plant in Tucson, Chemical Lime Nelson in Peach Springs, ASARCO's Hayden Smelter, Freeport McMoran's Miami Smelter, Phoenix Cement Company's Clarkdale plant and CalPortland Cement Company's Rillito plant.EPA estimates the proposal would reduce sulfur dioxide by almost 30,000 tons per year and nitrogen oxides by 3,100 tons annually.EPA will hold public hearings on Feb. 25 in Phoenix and the following day in Tucson.A final determination will be made by June 27.

Chemtrade Announces Closing of the General Chemical Acquisition 


January 23, 2014 - Chemtrade Logistics Income Fund announced today that it has completed its previously-announced acquisition of Parsippany, New Jersey-based General Chemical Holding Company. The final total cash purchase price is expected to be approximately US$900 million, after a working capital adjustment and payment of post-closing taxes.  "This is a historic event for Chemtrade. The acquisition of General Chemical adds significant size, scale and scope to Chemtrade's existing product and service platform," said Chemtrade President and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Davis. "General Chemical has strong portfolio alignment with our current business, enhancing our existing sulphuric acid geographic footprint and greatly expanding our water treatment business so it now extends across most of North America. The acquisition of General Chemical also moves Chemtrade into new but related product categories and end markets, and positions Chemtrade to capitalize on new growth opportunities."

Codelco to build new molybdenum plant in Chile


January 21, 2014 - Chilean copper producer Codelco will invest $400 million in the construction of a molybdenum plant in Mejillones, in Chile's Antofagasta region.  The plan is to process 16,000 tpy of molybdenum trioxide by 2015, as well as produce 32,000 tpy of sulphuric acid. In the year of 2012, the company produced 20,000 tonnes of the material.

 

Japanese-Turkish Consortium Builds Chemical Facility in Turkmenistan

January 6, 2014 - Production infrastructure of Turkmenabat chemical plant will be replenished with manufacture for production of sulfuric acid with capacity of 500,000 tons per year. As Turkmenistan.ru reported, corresponding decree was signed by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.


During a recent meeting of the Government of Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was informed on the progress of work on concluding Agreement on construction of a sulfuric acid production workshop at the Turkmenabat chemical plant with authoritative international companies. According to the Turkmenhimiya State Concern such long-term partners of Turkmenistan in the sphere of construction of large industrial facilities as Mitsui Inginiring & Shipbulding Co., Ltd (Japan) and Rönesans Türkmen Inşaat Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş. (Turkey) expressed their interest in implementation of this significant project.  Moreover, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) that highly appreciates the prospects of joint cooperation due to the “open-door” policy pursued by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and favourable investment climate created in the country for foreign partners demonstrates keen interest in investing the project.  A high level of professionalism and qualification of foreign partners in this field is proved by the fact that Mitsui Inginiring & Shipbulding Co., Ltd has experience in construction of over 70 similar modern plants on production of sulfuric acid in Japan and many other countries. The Japanese company applies the most advanced technologies that are used in most sulfuric acid plants in the US and about a half of similar plants throughout the world.  As is known, Mitsui Inginiring & Shipbulding Co., Ltd uses a generally accepted license technology of the Monsanto Company (the US). According to the project, a new sulfuric acid production workshop will consist of a single technological line of the double absorption process with a continuous production capacity of 1,500 metric tons of sulfuric acid per day. The workshop will work round-the-clock 333 working days a year.  Speaking about the significance of this large investment project for the national economy of our country, it should be noted that the Turkmenabat chemical plant producing phosphate fertilizers and sulfuric acid is the only producer of this type of fertilizers in Turkmenistan. The main product manufactured at the plant is phosphate fertilizer - ammonium superphosphate that contains phosphorus and nitrogen. This valuable fertilizer is of great demand among the agricultural workers of our country.  The existing sulfuric acid production plant with the project capacity of 500,000 tons per year was put into operation in 1985. Due to the long-term operation in corrosive medium the basic technological units and equipment do not satisfy the modern requirements.  The Programme on developing Lebap Velayat within the framework of the National Programme on the socio-economic development of Turkmenistan for 2011-2030 envisages reconstruction and modernization of the phosphate fertilizers production with increase in production of ammonium superphosphate up to 300,000 tons per year, as well as construction of a new sulfuric acid plant with the annual production capacity of 500,000 tons at the Turkmenabat chemical plant affiliated to the Turkmenhimiya State Concern.  Construction of a new sulfuric acid plant is designed for the future. The programme on development of the chemical industry in 2016 – 2019 envisages production of 200,000-250,000 tons of potassium sulphate per year, where sulfuric acid and potassium chloride will be used as the main raw materials.  The availability and efficiency of this new production capacity of the national chemical industry is caused by the fact that part of sulfuric acid produced in Turkmenistan can be exported.