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Sulphuric Acid - NEWS

Updated December 20, 2015



Boliden Invests in a New Sulphuric Acid Plant at Harjavalta

Simplot agrees to pay fine, improve pollution controls 
Pranab Mukherjee inaugurates Jordan's sulphuric acid plant with Indian stake 

Calabrian Announces Its Plans To Build SO2Clean™ Production Facility In Eastern Canada
Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC Settlement

Etihad Rail moves more than two million tonnes of sulphur to Ruwais

More bad news for Chilean copper producers as natural disaster strikes
Judge Orders Immediate Removal of Sulphuric Acid at ARC Terminals 
Vale expects to miss 2015 sulpher dioxide emissions target
DuPont Completes Spin-off of The Chemours Conpany
Amarinth launch innovative API 610 VS4 vertical sulphur pumps designed specifically for the oil and gas industry
First Quantum Minerals Reports on the Ramp-Up Progress of Its New Copper Smelter
European sulphur terminal (Ust-Luga) to be put into operation by year end, PhosAgro saysWorld’s largest sulfur melting facility under construction  
Capacity of sulfuric acid production in Uzbekistan will increase by 1.4 timesFeds charge Union Pacific for 2012 sulfuric acid spill in Kansas
Ballance Agri-Nutrients fined $60,000 for releasing a toxic gas
New production facility of Karabashmed, CJSC, to be launched in summer

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


Boliden Invests in a New Sulphuric Acid Plant at Harjavalta

December 17, 2015 - Boliden continues to develop its copper-nickel operations as it invests in improved environmental performance and operational efficiency at its Harjavalta smelter. The smelter operates two acid plants that produce sulphuric acid and liquid sulphur dioxide from smelter off-gases formed in the copper and nickel smelting processes. Boliden has decided to invest in a new and more efficient acid plant, using best available technology. The investment program that will run from 2016 to 2019 consists of two parts, the first and now decided part amounts to €65 million. The total investment is estimated at €90 million.

“This investment improves our technical infrastructure, which is fundamental for our long-term competitive position,” said Timo Rautalahti, general manager Boliden Harjavalta. “Continuity of the site together with the improved environmental performance is important for our local community, too.”

With the new plant in operation, the efficiency and environmental performance of Boliden Harjavalta will improve in several areas. SO2 emissions will be reduced by 20%-25 % and cooling water by 40%, as heat is recovered, resulting in higher energy efficiency. In addition, minor bottlenecks will open, especially on the copper line, and make future expansion projects possible on both the copper and nickel line.

Simplot agrees to pay fine, improve pollution controls 

December 3, 2015 - An agreement to make modifications at five sulfuric acid plants, including the Don Plant in Pocatello, and pay a civil penalty of $899,000 has resolved a Clean Air Act violations issue between the J.R. Simplot Co., U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency.According to a news release from the Region 10 EPA office, J.R. Simplot has agreed to spend approximately $41.5 million on pollution controls to cut sulfur dioxide emissions at plants in Pocatello, Lathrop, Calif., and Rock Springs, Wyo.  The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality will receive $167,000 of the total civil penalty Simplot has been ordered to pay.  “Today’s settlement is good news for Idaho residents and will result in significant reductions of sulfur dioxide emissions from Simplot’s Pocatello plant,” said Dennis McLerran, EPA regional administrator in Seattle. “Idahoans will breathe cleaner air thanks to the pollution control improvements Simplot has made and will be making under this settlement.”  Once fully implemented, the settlement will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from Simplot’s five sulfuric acid plants by more than 50 percent for approximately 2,540 tons per year of total reductions. Upgrades at Simplot’s Pocatello plant will reduce those emissions by approximately 825 tons per year. Simplot will also implement a plan to monitor sulfur dioxide emissions continuously at all five plants.“This settlement helps address public health risks for local communities in California, Idaho and Wyoming, and furthers EPA’s commitment to reduce harmful air pollution from the largest sources,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The system-wide pollution controls Simplot will install will significantly reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, which can cause serious respiratory problems and exacerbate asthma.”  EPA and DOJ alleged that Simplot made modifications at its five sulfuric acid plants without applying for or obtaining the necessary Clean Air Act permits and “best available control technology” limits for sulfur dioxide, and for sulfuric acid mist and fine particles at its sulfuric acid plant in Pocatello.  Short-term exposures to sulfur dioxide can lead to serious respiratory problems, including constriction of airways in the lungs and increased asthma symptoms. It is also a precursor to the formation of fine particulates, which causes a wide variety of health and environmental impacts, including asthma attacks, reduced lung function, and aggravation of existing heart disease.  This settlement is part of EPA’s national enforcement initiative to control harmful emissions from large sources of pollution, which includes acid plants, under the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration requirements. This will be EPA’s 13th acid settlement under the initiative and the ninth sulfuric acid settlement. The emission rates secured in this settlement will result in the best-controlled, system-wide emissions achieved in any sulfuric acid plant settlement to-date.  The consent decree formalizing the settlement was lodged with the U.S. District Court in the District of Idaho and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. http://www.idahostatejournal.com/
The proposed consent decree can be viewed at: http://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.

Pranab Mukherjee inaugurates Jordan's sulphuric acid plant with Indian stake 

October 10, 2015 - President Pranab Mukherjee and Jordananian King Abdullah II today inaugurated the world's largest sulphuric acid plant, an Indian joint venture built at a cost of $860 million.  The joint venture between IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited) and JPMC (Jordanian Phosphate Mines Company) plant, which was conceived in 2007, is now operational in the town of Eshidiya, 325 kms from Jordan's capital city of Amman.  The plant will come as a huge relief to India's agricultural sector requirements in view of meagre availability of phosphates in India.  Phosphoric acid produced at the plant will be exported to the Kandla port in Gujarat from Jordan's Aqaba port, which is close to the location of the plant.  International Finance Corporation (IFC) has given a loan of $335 million to the project in which IFFCO has a 52 per cent stake.  The two leaders inaugurated the plant using remote buttons, with the project and workers.

Calabrian Announces Its Plans To Build SO2Clean™ Production Facility In Eastern Canada

October 9, 2015 - Calabrian Corporation, the leading producer of liquid Sulfur Dioxide in North America, announced today it is building a liquid Sulfur Dioxide production facility in Eastern Canada. The facility will serve the local mining, paper and water treatment markets. Site development and construction will begin immediately and production is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2016.The new plant will utilize Calabrian's proprietary production process, SO2Clean™, which is virtually emission free, reliable and capital efficient. With local production and the best technology in the industry, Calabrian will be able to provide customers with the highest levels of customer service and address their enterprise risk management concerns. "Following the shutdown of Sulfur Dioxide production in Sudbury and Kidd Creek in recent years, Eastern Canada consumers of Sulfur Dioxide have experienced supply challenges. We look forward to serving these markets by reducing transportation complexity and risk in a more economical way," said Randy Owens, CEO of Calabrian. Calabrian has secured long-term lease rights to an industrial site in the City of Timmins, Ontario. Randy Owens added, "The City of Timmins has been a great development partner for us and we look forward to becoming a part of their business community. Our investment would not have been possible without the support of the Timmins Economic Development Corporation, City of Timminsstaff and City Council.""We welcome this new partnership with Calabrian, which brings with it the addition of skilled manufacturing jobs to support Canada'smining industry. We look forward to the positive economic impact it will have in our community. I would like to thank the management at Calabrian, local staff at Timmins Economic Development Corporation, Ontario Northland Transportation Commission and City Hall staff for helping highlight what our great city has to offer new industry," said Steven Black, Mayor of Timmins.Calabrian's geographic expansion into Eastern Canada follows its capacity addition at its site in Port Neches, Texas, which was completed in 2014. Calabrian is utilizing that capacity to serve customers in Eastern Canada and will continue to do so until the new facility is commissioned.  After start-up of the Eastern Canada facility, Port Neches will resume its focus on existing customer volumes, market growth, as well as new and existing derivatives. Additionally, Calabrian announced today the execution of a Sulfur Dioxide Distribution Agreement with Univar Canada Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Univar Inc., to service the mining industry on an exclusive basis. "The Calabrian and Univar partnership is founded on common principles whereby Calabrian brings manufacturing excellence and Univar brings logistics, distribution and mining industry services, the combination of which will create a reliable supplier to mining customers in Eastern Canada," said Randy Owens.  "With this new partnership, we are excited to further expand our portfolio, strengthen our position, and help us better serve mining customers in the region," said Barry McGee, VP Business Development, Univar Canada. "Univar is the largest chemical distributor inCanada, and our team has been growing and expanding to serve mining industry customers and suppliers from Quebec to British Columbia, and we are excited to bring this new offering to our valued customers."

October 9, 2015 - Following months of working with the Timmins Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) and city staff, Calabrian Corporation announced that it is building a new liquid sulfur dioxide (SO2CLEANTM) production facility in the City of Timmins.At full capacity, the facility is expected to employ 20 peopleThe new industry announcement was made Friday.According to the company's website, “Calabrian Corporation is a leading supplier of sulfur dioxide and related derivatives used in wastewater treatment and other applications. The company manufactures sulfur dioxide and downstream derivatives such as sodium bisulfite solution, sodium metabisulfite, sodium thiosulfate, and sodium sulfite solution. Its products are used in a broad range of industrial and municipal wastewater treatment applications to achieve compliance with federal and local water regulations, as well as other specialty applications in personal care, pulp and paper processing, food preservation, oilfield production, mining, and disinfection.”Timmins Mayor Steve Black stated in a release issued by the city on Friday, “We welcome this new partnership with Calabrian, which brings with it the addition of skilled manufacturing jobs to support Canada’s mining industry and aligns with the Northern Growth Plan. We look forward to the positive economic impact it will have in our community. I would like to thank the management at Calabrian, local staff at TEDC, Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, and city hall for helping highlight what our great city has to offer new industry.”Production is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2016, and once at full capacity, the plant will create 20 new positions.Calabrian is also working with the local Bestech Engineering office to design the site.“The City of Timmins has been a great development partner for us and we look forward to becoming a part of their business community,” said Randy Owens, chief executive of Calabrian. “Our investment would not have been possible without the support of the Timmins Economic Development Corporation, City of Timmins staff and city council.”
  Representatives from Calabrian will be introduced by Mayor Black during his State of the City address on Oct. 21, at the Days Inn in Timmins.



Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC Settlement


October 1, 2015 - EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC that will ensure the proper treatment, storage, and disposal of an estimated 60 billion pounds of hazardous waste at six Mosaic facilities in Florida and two in Louisiana. The settlement resolves a series of alleged violations by Mosaic, one of the world’s largest fertilizer manufacturers, of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which provides universal guidelines for how hazardous waste must be stored, handled and disposed. The 60 billion pounds of hazardous waste addressed in this case is the largest amount ever covered by a federal or state RCRA settlement and will ensure that wastewater at Mosaic’s facilities is properly managed and does not pose a threat to groundwater resources.  The 60 billion pounds of hazardous waste is based on the combined amount of corrosive wastewaters that will be treated at terminal closure of the facilities. Mosaic is one of the fertilizers industry’s best performers in its ability to reduce large volumes of corrosive wastewater in its phosphogypsum stack systems. In addition to recovering valuable phosphate and other compounds, Mosaic is able to reduce terminal closure costs while ensuring that its phosphogypsum stack systems are operated in an environmentally safe manner.  Four Mosaic facilities (New Wales, Bartow, Riverview in Florida and Uncle Sam in Louisiana) will continue to produce phosphoric acid and actively utilize its phosphogypsum stack systems. Mosaic is in the closure process for the Green Bay Complex and South Pierce facility in Florida, and the Faustina facility in Louisiana. However, Faustina will continue to manufacture ammoniated fertilizer. Mosaic operated a small sulfuric acid plant at the Mulberry facility in Florida for a short time. The Mulberry sulfuric acid plant was closed around 2008 and there are no obligations regarding this site in this settlement.  Mosaic has been making major improvements at all its facilities and completed several notable projects: installation of state-of-the-art elementary neutralization units to improve the management of sulfuric acid waste streams, upgrading air scrubbers at its granulation and phosphoric acid plants, and installing automated spill and leak detection systems. All of these projects have been closely monitored by Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and Louisiana Department of Environmental Protection, who provided valuable expertise at each step of the process.

TransNamib buys 90 sulphuric acid rail tankers for US$10 million 

September 30, 2015 - TransNamib has agreed to purchase 90 sulphuric acid rail tankers for US$10 million from China Railway Materials (CRM) Hong Kong. Acting CEO of TransNamib Hippy Tjivikua and chairman of the Board of Directors of CRM Hong Kong, Hu Zhengyong, signed the purchase agreement last week.  According to the agreement, TransNamib can expect delivery of the tankers in July next year. The tankers are made according to specifications of the Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb acid plant to maximise operational efficiency and safety. This latest acquisition follows a previous purchase of tankers from CRM Hong Kong, which TransNamib says are currently still in use.  Like the six locomotives TransNamib recently acquired from General Electric, the 90 sulphuric acid tankers will be deployed to execute the 10-year sulphuric acid rail transport agreement TransNamib entered into with Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb. Experts estimate the agreement to be worth billions of dollars.  “Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb has approved the technical specifications and quality of the tankers and they are quite happy to receive the delivery as promised by China Railway Materials Hong Kong by July 2016,” Tjivikua said.  Following a rigorous procurement process, which started about three years ago, the negotiations and development of the purchase agreement was sanctioned by the TransNamib governance structures.  “Our shareholder, the Namibian government through the Ministry of Works and Transport, supported the process and acquisition of the 90 sulphuric acid rail tankers and we regard our partnership with our shareholder as healthy as ever,” Tjivikua confirmed.  “The execution of this agreement is an important milestone in the fulfillment of TransNamib’s obligations to transport sulphuric acid from Tsumeb to Arandis, as part of our 10-year agreement with Dundee Precious Metal Tsumeb,” the acting CEO of TransNamib remarked.  The chairman of CRM Hong Kong expressed satisfaction with his company’s relationship with TransNamib.  “Our relationship comes a long way and TransNamib has already bought good quality wagons from China Railway Materials before and we are pleased to learn that TransNamib is indeed satisfied with the wagons. We want to assure the Namibian public that these 90 sulphuric acid rail tankers will be of excellent quality and TransNamib will receive a return on this investment,” Hu Zhengyong said.

Etihad Rail moves more than two million tonnes of sulphur to Ruwais

September 28, 2015 - Etihad Rail has transported more than two million tonnes of sulphur from Shah and Habshan in the hydrocarbon-rich Western Region to the port of Ruwais over the past year.  The company, established in 2009 to develop the UAE’s freight and passenger railway networks, said yesterday that it had made the shipments – the equivalent of 66,000 truck trips – over the past 12 months during trial operations.  Since the 264-kilometre first phase of the railway network was completed last year, Etihad Rail’s operating partner ERDB has been running freight trials on a daily basis, transporting the sulphur, a major byproduct of oil and gas production, for the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).  Etihad Rail said that full commercial operations were expected to start “shortly” once the company has been granted its regulatory approvals.  When this happens the amount of sulphur transported by rail is expected to more than triple, with Etihad Rail aiming to shift 7 million tonnes of sulphur every year for Adnoc once it enters into full commercial operations.  Sulphur is produced in massive amounts in sour gasfields as hydrogen sulphide is removed from the gas before it can be exploited.  This means that the UAE is expected to produce close to 10 million tonnes a year of sulphur, making the country the world’s top producer of the element. The sulphur will be exported to fertiliser plants around the world.  The amount of sulphur expected to be produced from the Shah field alone is close to 3 million tonnes a year, equivalent to the yearly production of sulphur for the entire country of Japan.  Etihad Rail’s fleet currently comprises seven locomotives and 240 hopper wagons which transport the granulated sulphur from two plants in Shah and Habshan to the sulphur handling terminal at Ruwais.  “Transporting more than 2 million tonnes of sulphur in the past year clearly demonstrates Etihad Rail’s unique value proposition as a reliable, safe and environmentally friendly mode of transport,” said Faris Saif Al Mazrouei, Etihad Rail’s chief executive.The Dh40 billion Etihad Rail project is being built in three main stages. Eventually the network will stretch 1,200km across the UAE, connecting each of the seven emirates with a GCC-wide railway network.  Economists say that the new network should enable the UAE’s manufacturers to expand more quickly.“Improvements to infrastructure are certainly important for economic growth, and [Etihad Rail] should help to support the movement of goods and people around the region,” said Jason Tuvey, an emerging markets economist at Capital Economics. “The project will help companies to move raw materials, which should help heavy industries in the Gulf, and bring down costs.”  A second phase connecting Jebel Ali in Dubai with Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi is also planned. Contracts to undertake work on the 628km freight phase of the railway line were first tendered in 2012 but so far none have been awarded.

More bad news for Chilean copper producers as natural disaster strikes

September 18, 2015 - A powerful earthquake, with a magnitude of 8.3, hit Chile on 16 September 2015. This has led the major copper producers, Codelco and Antofagasta PLC, to suspend operations at their Andina and Los Pelambres mines, threatening more than 600,000 tonnes of annual capacity. Codelco also chose to evacuate its workers at its smaller Las Ventanas refining and smelting division, as well as at the two ports of Mejillones and Barquito. Although other producers in the region, Anglo American PLC and BHP Billiton, confirmed they were unaffected by the earthquake, this comes as a further hit to the region following the strikes at Codelco and protests at Los Pelambres in recent months. As a result, these supply scares have meant that copper prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose to two-month highs in early Asian trading on 17 September. The concerns about falling Chinese demand have fallen into the background as speculators realise the disruption to the world’s largest copper resource, Chile. This is potentially highly disruptive to the sulphuric acid market, impacting demand, while the mines are out of operation, and potentially supply if smelters also see a knock on impact due to any copper concentrates supply issues. The market has been long in Chile in recent months, with the net importer turning to sulphuric acid exports to markets such as Brazil in order to balance overflowing product at Mejillones. This was a contributing factor to the recent downward price pressure for sulphuric acid benchmarks. The disruption in Chile could lead to prices stabilising, particularly with copper prices rising. However, should shipments to the port of Mejillones be impacted, this could mean excess product becomes available in the market, further dampening price prospects. Integer expects to see a steady decline in sulphuric acid demand in Chile in the coming years as copper mining sees cut backs in operation, with a decline of 2.5% year-on-year between 2015 and 2025.


Judge Orders Immediate Removal of Sulphuric Acid at ARC Terminals 

On Monday, a judged ruled that ARC Terminals must immediately remove all Sulphuric acid they’ve been illegally storing at their facility since February.  Attorneys for ARC Terminals said they had no intention to dispute the order and were willing to comply.  “We intend to have the product removed from our terminal in the safest manner that our operation protocols will allow. Safety, as always, will be our primary focus,” said Allen Wentz, a Safety and Environmental Manager at ARC.  “While the product has been stored at our facility, it has at all times been stored safely and without incident. I would like to clear up the perception that we were holding millions of gallons of this product. That is not accurate,” Wentz said.  City Attorney Ricardo Woods said that the reason they filed the order Monday is because it otherwise would be tied up in Environmental court for months, and the city felt that it was a safety concern to have the chemical on the property.  During the hearing, debate ensued over what exactly “immediate” means. The judge finally ruled that “immediate” means as quickly as possible, which for ARC Terminals, is about 4 weeks.  ARC attorneys said that they have to transport the chemical by trucks, which are owned by their customer, Sulphuric Acid Trading Company (SATCO).  As of Monday afternoon, 
SATCO’s website boasts that they have a brand new sulphuric acid storage tank in Mobile. WKRG called SATCO’s general manager, but did not receive a response.  Wentz apologized to the city and the public for ARC Terminal’s lack of communication throughout this process and said they did not intentionally mean to deceive anyone.  Wentz said they are conducting an internal review to determine who is responsible for filing the permit application that failed to mention they were already storing acid on site.  “We regret the situation and any miscommunications around the storage of this product in our terminal, and we sincerely apologize to the mayor, to the city council, as well as the broader mobile community,” Wentz said.  Woods said the city will continue to fine ARC Terminals $298 dollars each day that there is acid on their property. He also said they will be working closely with the company to ensure that they are moving swiftly and safely to remove the chemical.  “What we’ll ask for is that they give weekly reports. So, those weekly reports will probably be submitted to you [media] and the city to make sure the removal is being taken place in safe manner,” Woods said.

Chemical Leak Shuts Down Race Track After More Than a Dozen Sickened

Spectators at a racetrack in Indiana were sickened by a sulfur dioxide leak on Saturday.  As many as 18 people were admitted to a local hospital, complaining of irritable breathing and burning skin.  The small, dirt track was evacuated and the event was shut down.  Authorities say the chemical was sulfur dioxide and they blame a neighboring facility owned by the Hydrite Chemical Company.  Terre Haute Fire Battalion Chief Joe Swan said, “We believe Hydrite’s got everything shot down and there’s no leaks at this time.”

Vale expects to miss 2015 sulpher dioxide emissions target

July 20, 2015 - Nickel giant Vale doesn't expect to meet its sulphur dioxide emission targets this year, a decade after they were set.  Vale was granted a five-year extension, and has until the end of this year to get its annual emissions down to 66 kilotonnes.  The company reports it's currently emitting about 150 kilotonnes, but is aiming to be down to 20 kilotonnes by 2018 — when $1 billion worth of upgrades are completed at its Copper Cliff smelter.  "There's going to be a couple steps," said Dan Legrand, Vale's director of process technology.  "The big one will occur in 2018 when we start capturing all of the converter gas."  Vale has made other changes to its emissions process — racking up government credits that allow it to miss the emissions deadline without penalty.  The Ministry of the Environment is keeping a close watch.  "I think it's important that the company continue to work towards getting down to that 66 kilotonne limit," said ministry district manager Brian Cameron.  Meanwhile, the pressure is on for smelter operations support manager Mike Zanini, who's supervising the upgrades as smelting continues.   "We like to use the analogy that it's like trying to do open heart surgery — still trying to produce and keep everything going through the plant, while trying to modernize and upgrade at the same time," he said.  That "surgery" is expected to continue until 2018, when Zanini said they expect "to have the majority of those emissions reductions delivered." 



DuPont Completes Spin-off of The Chemours Conpany

July 1, 2015 - Today DuPont announced it has completed the separation of its Performance Chemicals segment through the spin-off of The Chemours Company (Chemours). Chemours begins "regular way" trading today on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol "CC".  Today DuPont common stockholders receive one share of common stock of Chemours for every five shares of DuPont common stock they held at5:00 p.m. ET on June 23, 2015DuPont common stockholders will receive cash in lieu of fractional shares of Chemours "Today's successful spin-off advances DuPont's transformation to a higher growth, higher value, global science and innovation company," said DuPont Chair and Chief Executive Officer Ellen Kullman. "We are now fully focused on markets where our science gives the company a distinct competitive advantage, enabling DuPont to drive higher, more stable growth.  "The next generation DuPont is leaner and more efficient, better able to capitalize on key capabilities that help solve major global challenges and enable our customers to provide plentiful, healthier food; renewably sourced advanced materials; ample energy; better infrastructure and transportation," said Kullman. "As we move forward, we are committed to continuing to execute our strategy to deliver value for shareholders today, while positioning DuPont for a successful future."

Amarinth launch innovative API 610 VS4 vertical sulphur pumps designed specifically for the oil and gas industry

Amarinth, a leading company specialising in the design, application and manufacture of centrifugal pumps and associated equipment to the Oil & Gas, petrochemical, chemical, industrial and renewable energy markets, has invested over £1M in designing and launching a new reliable low-maintenance range of API 610 VS4 vertical sulphur pumps for the oil and gas industry.

Elemental (pure) sulphur is a valuable by-product recovered during the refinement of oil and gas and is sold on to be used in the manufacture of many products including fertilisers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, asphalt and concrete. The sulphur is extracted and transported around the processing plant in liquid form at a temperature of some 140C. However, sulphur only remains in its liquid state suitable for pumping within a narrow temperature band of approximately ±20C. At lower temperatures the liquid will start to revert to a solid and at higher temperatures its viscosity actually increases due to the formation of polymers, all of which creates unique challenges for sulphur pumps. To date, many sulphur pumps have been simple adaptions of VS4 vertical pumps or other standard designs but these have brought with them maintenance and reliability issues for operators.

Three years ago, Amarinth decided to draw on its extensive expertise in designing bespoke pumping solutions for the oil and gas industry and apply this knowledge to produce an API 610 VS4 vertical pump that could meet the challenges of reliably pumping molten sulphur. Amarinth first undertook a detailed study of existing sulphur pumps (usually simple adaptions of existing designs) and how they were used and maintained to determine where issues occurred. Users reported high incidents of bearing failures, shaft problems and having to run significantly shorter maintenance periods to try and minimize failures, all of which resulted in increased downtime for the plants.

To deliver a robust, reliable and easily maintainable pump, Amarinth then embarked on an 18 month design and test study resulting in a pump which includes:

- A new arrangement for the shaft bearings and lubrication film which reduces the previous bearing and shaft issues operators had reported.
- Redesigned jacket to maintain the temperature of the molten sulphur and hence its viscosity, reducing the solidification of the sulphur around the pump particularly when it’s lifted for maintenance.
- New design of impeller optimised for best efficiency for molten sulphur.
- Amarinth’s proven modular column design that enables the rapid production of bespoke pump lengths and greatly simplifies maintenance and removal of the pump.
- Improved access so that regular maintenance can be completed quickly and with less disruption to the associated pipework and plant.

Following three years and an investment of over £1M, Amarinth has now launched its new range of API 610 VS4 vertical sulphur pumps giving oil and gas operators for the first time a cost-effective, efficient and reliable pump for the transportation of molten sulphur from point of extraction to ongoing processing.

Oliver Brigginshaw, Managing Director of Amarinth, commented: “We are delighted to add these sulphur pumps to our range of pumps for the oil and gas industry. Drawing on our many years of experience with vertical pumps it is the culmination of three years research and development by our team of dedicated engineers and we look forward to leveraging the technologies we have pioneered on this project into other products to deliver even more effective pumping solutions for other applications.” www.amarinth.com

First Quantum Minerals Reports on the Ramp-Up Progress of Its New Copper Smelter


June 25, 2015 - First Quantum Minerals Ltd. is pleased to provide the following update on the ramp-up progress of its new copper smelter in Zambia.

- The ramp-up continues to progress well ahead of expectations.
- Since the start of hot operations in mid-February 2015, daily throughput of copper concentrate has steadily increased.
- The daily copper concentrate throughput currently averages 3,000 tonnes with periods in excess of the 3,500 tonnes per day nameplate capacity.
- Feed to the smelter is currently comprised of a mixture of stockpiled and fresh concentrate from our Kansanshi mine and fresh concentrate from our new Sentinel mine.
- The benefits to Kansanshi are increasing as the ramp-up progresses:
   - Its concentrate inventory has been reduced to 29,600 tonnes of contained copper from 59,900 tonnes at the end of the first quarter of 2015,
   - over 180,000 tonnes of sulphuric acid have been produced by the smelter and used in the mine's oxide and mixed circuits and,
   - the mine's C1 cost of production has been lowered to between $1.36 to $1.25 per pound from an average of $1.77 in the first quarter of 2015.
- Training for the 600-person workforce is well advanced.
- Given the progress to date, commercial production is expected to be declared in the third quarter of 2015 - ahead of the previous expectation of the first quarter 2016.


"We are very pleased with the performance of the smelter. The achievement of over 100% of nameplate capacity, in just three months from startup, is unprecedented. It is a credit to the design and project teams and illustrates the strong capabilities of the operations management and staff," noted Philip Pascall, First Quantum's Chairman and CEO."The smelter's value to our Kansanshi mine in particular is already very evident. For the first time in several years, the mine is able to operate without the constraints of limited availability and widely-fluctuating sulphuric acid prices and the lack of smelter capacity in Zambia."At our new Sentinel mine, commercial production on the entire facility is expected in the third quarter 2015 following delivery of the full power requirement which is on track for August. This, together with the smelter will complete a significant phase in the expansion of our production capacity," Mr. Pascall concluded.


European sulphur terminal (Ust-Luga) to be put into operation by year end, PhosAgro says

European sulphur terminal will be put into operation by the end of 2015, IAA PortNews correspondent cites PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev, as saying at the ceremony of launching Smart Bulk Terminal for transshipment of PhosAgro fertilizers.  “The first storage facility has been built, the second one nears completion. The terminal has already handled 0.5 mln t of cargo”, Andrey Guryev also said.  According to Andrey Guryev, the terminal will be fully operational in late December 2015.  Under long-term contract PhosAgro is building new terminal facilities with the first phase of 100,000 t in capacity to be launched in summer 2015. Via this terminal, PhosAgro plans to transship and sell at least 1 mln t of fertilizers per year with a possibility to load containers onto Panamax ships and store products free of charge.  European sulphur terminal is located at commercial seaport of Ust-Luga (Luga Bay, south-east of the Gulf of Finland). The terminal’s hi-tech equipment can handle granulated and lump sulphur. Design capacity of the terminal is 4.5 mln t per year, depth at the berths – 16 m, wharf length - 500 m. The terminal is able to accommodate vessels of up to 70,000 in displacement.

World’s largest sulfur melting facility under construction  

June 11, 2015 - evco has been awarded a project that will include full turnkey plant delivery of what will be the world’s largest sulfur melter. The melter facility is being built for The Mosaic Company, the world’s largest supplier of phosphate and potash with approximately 8900 employees in eight countries.Devco is utilising core process technology by CTI Consulting out of New Orleans, Louisiana. Devco has a long working partnership with CTI, most recently providing a US$78 million sulfur purification facility for the Mishraq State Sulphur Company, Iraqi Minister of Industry. ISTI Plant Services from Tulsa, Oklahoma will provide fabrication and some construction activities for the project both in Tulsa, and at the site near Lakeland, Florida. Devco has worked with ISTI on multiple large scale natural gas processing facilities built in ISTI’s fabrication facility in Tulsa, and installed in Texas and Louisiana.

apacity of sulfuric acid production in Uzbekistan will increase by 1.4 times

April 1, 2015 - The capacity of sulfuric acid production in Uzbekistan will increase by 1.4 times, from 950 metric tons to 1,300 metric tons per year by 2020, according to the decree of Uzbekistan’s Cabinet of Ministers.  The government decree envisages increasing the capacity by constructing new sulfuric acid producing facilities (with capacity of 650,000 metric tons per year each) at Ammofos-Maxam JSC and Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combine.  It is planned to commission the facilities at Ammofos-Maxam and Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combine in 2018 and 2019, respectively.  Meanwhile, the outdated facilities for sulfuric acid production will be decommissioned at Ammofos-Maxam (with capacity of 500,000 metric tons per year) and Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combine (450,000 metric tons per year).  It is planned to finance the projects with the own funds of the Uzhimprom State Joint Stock Company, Uzbek Fund for Reconstruction and Development, loans from local and foreign banks, own funds of Ammofos-Maxam and Navoi Combine.  However, the cost of the projects is not specified in the government decree.  The general contractors for construction of the facilities on a “turnkey” basis will be determined through closed tenders.  Ammofos-Maxam JSC, commissioned in 1969, is the largest of the three chemical enterprises producing phosphate fertilizers in Uzbekistan. The design capacity allows to produce over 338,000 metric tons of ammophos, 500,000 metric tons of sulfuric acid and 417,000 metric tons of wet-process phosphoric acid per year.  Spanish MAXAM Corp. obtained 49 percent of the enterprise’s share for $18 million and investment commitments worth $30 million in January 2008. The state is the owner of 51 percent of the block of shares.  Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combine is one of the largest gold producers in Central Asia. The combine is fully owned by the state. The annual production volume nears $2 billion.  

Feds charge Union Pacific for 2012 sulfuric acid spill in Kansas

March 30, 2015 - Feds charge Union Pacific for 2012 sulfuric acid spill in Kansas.  Charge alleges railroad spilled 114,297 pounds of sulfuric acid from railcar in Herington into Lime Creek.  Federal prosecutors have filed a misdemeanor charge against Union Pacific Railroad over a 2012 spill of sulfuric acid in Kansas.  A criminal information filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Kansas alleges the railroad spilled 114,297 pounds of sulfuric acid from a railcar in Herington into Lime Creek. Such documents are filed with the consent of the defendant and typically indicate that a plea deal is in the works.  Email and phone messages left for a spokesman at Union Pacific were not immediately returned.  The railroad is charged with one count of violating the Federal Water Pollution Control Act for the Jan. 8, 2012 incident.  If convicted, the railroad is subject to a maximum fine of $200,000 per violation.  

Ballance Agri-Nutrients fined $60,000 for releasing a toxic gas

March 26, 2015 - A fertiliser manufacturer has been fined $60,000 for releasing a toxic gas into the air which caused nearby workers to experience coughing, sore throats and breathing problems.  Ballance Agri-Nutrients was slapped with the fine during its Tauranga District Court sentencing on Monday after pleading guilty to breaching the Resource Management Act by releasing sulphur dioxide from its Mount Maunganui plant.  In May last year, two Port of Tauranga workers noticed a gas smell when they opened a window and called security.  Nine workers suffered watering eyes, sore throats, coughing and breathing difficulties and one sought medical attention.  The company found the shift engineer had made an error by not reducing the sulphur pump to the recommended level when restarting the acid plant, causing excess sulphur dioxide to spill out of the plant.  As the gas cooled, it fell to the ground and affected the nearby port staff.  The company was fined $35,000 in 1999 after a similar incident which saw several people taken to hospital with breathing difficulties.  Judge Jeff Smith said the offending wasn't wilful but was the result of human error.  It had been caused by Ballance's failure to fit a device to the plant which would ensure the sulphur pump level was automatically re-set.  Bay of Plenty Regional Council pollution prevention manager Nick Zaman said the case showed that businesses needed to be proactive when managing environmental risks - especially when it could have a significant impact on public health.
   Fertiliser manufacturer Ballance Agri-Nutrients has been fined $60,000 for a discharge of sulphur dioxide into the air in May last year.  Bay of Plenty Regional Council prosecuted the company in Tauranga District Court for breaching the Resource Management Act.  The charge arose from an incident in May last year when Port workers suffered breathing difficulties, watering eyes, sore throats and coughing from a discharge of sulphur dioxide from Ballance's plant.  Ballance Agri-Nutrients chief executive Mark Wynne said the company had since taken steps to prevent the same situation re-occurring.  On 4 May 2014 two employees at the Port noticed the smell of gas, and after experiencing ill effects when they opened a window they notified Port security.  Three fire engines attended, and the gas was traced to the nearby Ballance plant on Hewletts Road.  Nine Port workers were affected, one sought medical attention, and the Regional Council was notified that afternoon.  The company's investigation showed that there had been an error by the shift engineer in not reducing the sulphur pump to the recommended level when restarting the acid plant, causing excessive sulphur dioxide to be discharged from the plant's stack.  As the cloud of sulphur dioxide cooled it fell to the ground, affecting the Port staff.  The fertiliser plant has been operating from the Mount Maunganui site since 1958, with substantial changes in the size and nature of the operations since then, as well as in the surrounding area.  The plant is a major source of sulphur dioxide emissions in the area, because the chemical is produced as part of the manufacturing process for super phosphate.  There had been a similar incident at the fertiliser plant in 1999, when several people were taken to hospital with breathing difficulties following an excessive discharge of sulphur dioxide.  The company (then known as BOP Fertiliser Limited) was fined $35,000. Ballance had also been warned by the Regional Council following excessive sulphur dioxide discharges in April 2007.  Judge Jeff Smith said that the Ballance fertiliser plant was within a sensitive environment close to the Port and busy roads, and there was a risk of effects on the public from the plant, particularly people working in the open.  The offending was not wilful but was the result of a human error and Ballance's failure to have a device fitted to the plant to ensure the sulphur pump level was automatically re-set when the plant shut down.  Judge Smith said it was important to deter discharges of this nature and protect community health.  Ballance was given credit for its early guilty plea. No credit was given for previous good character due to the earlier conviction for a similar discharge from the site and subsequent compliance issues.  Bay of Plenty Regional Council Pollution Prevention Manager Nick Zaman said the prosecution demonstrated the importance of businesses being proactive.  "While it is pleasing to see that Ballance enhanced its safety systems following the incident, this prosecution demonstrates the importance of ensuring that environmental risks are managed proactively, particularly where an industrial activity can have a significant impact on public health."  Ballance Agri-Nutrients chief executive Mark Wynne said he shared the community's concerns regarding environmental safety.  Mr Wynne said the company accepted the fine imposed by the court following an accidental discharge of sulphur dioxide into the air in May last year."The incident happened and we can't change that. What we can do, and have done, is take full responsibility and take every practical step to prevent this from happening again.  "We treat any incidents very seriously and we are completely confident we have minimised the risk of sulphur dioxide discharges at our Mount Maunganui site.  "During the incident our systems shut the plant just as they were designed to do. The key change now is that our safety shutdown systems now cut off at an even lower limit."  Mr Wynne said Ballance's environmental performance had been steadily improving, and was far superior to what it was a decade ago.  Ballance has invested millions of dollars in environmental, safety and operating upgrades at its Mount Maunganui superphosphate manufacturing plant since 2001. Following the May incident, additional automated safety equipment has been installed and other equipment upgraded.  "These changes followed an immediate and thorough internal investigation supported by expert advice, so we have every assurance our response has been robust."  "As part of our commitment to safety and environment we also undertake annual external audits of our operation here at the Mount to hold ourselves to the highest possible standards."  The Mount site is accredited to ACC's highest tertiary level and the international environmental management standard ISO 14001.  "We live here too - this is our community. The last thing we want to do is put our people, community or environment at risk."


New production facility of Karabashmed, CJSC, to be launched in summer

March 19, 2015
- In June 2015, a new sulfuric acid production facility of Karabashmed, CJSC (a member of Russian Copper Company Group), will be put into production. Currently, rail tank car washing station, transformer substation and 6 kV switchgear are commissioned. There will be 137 employees working at the new production facility.  The construction progress has been assessed by the Chelyabinsk Region Governor Boris Dubrovsky.  The Press Service of RCC has informed RusBusinessNews that the construction of this new production facility is designed with almost full utilization (99.9%) of sour gases from metallurgical production and decommissioning of the old sulfuric acid manufacture. With the new production, the output of blister copper is expected to reach 120 thousand tons per year, and the sulfuric acid output, up to 640 thousand tons.  As the production develops, Karabashmed increases its investments in Karabash region social projects. The investment amounted to 23 million rubles in 2013, and 29 million rubles in 2014.