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Acid Plant Database July 14, 2014
|Owner||Mississippi Phosphate Corporation|
|Location||P.O. Box 848
601 Industrial Road (Highway 611)
- Coastal Chemical Corporation
- Mississippi Chemical and Coastal Chemical merge in 1972
- Nu-West Industries (Englewood, CO) purchase site in 1988 under the name Nu-South
- Mississippi Phosphates Corporation acquires site in December 1990
Parent Company: MIssissippi Chemical Corporation
|Plant||Plant No.1||Plant No. 2||Plant No. 3|
|Coordinates*||-||30° 21' 6" N, 88° 30' 1" W||30° 21' 5" N, 88° 30' 3" W|
|Type of Plant||Sulphur Burning||Sulphur Burning||Sulphur Burning|
|Gas Source||Elemental Sulphur||Elemental Sulphur||Elemental Sulphur|
|Plant Capacity||Original: 545
Current: 907 MTPD
Original: 1360 MTPD
Current: 1588 MTPD
Current: 1588 MTPD
|SA/DA||SA||2/2 DA||2/2 DA|
|Technology||MECS (Monsanto)||Outotec (Lurgi)||Outotec (Lurgi)|
|General||Mississippi Phosphates Corporation’s production facility is located in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and employs approximately 220 people. Mississippi Phosphates has the capacity to produce approximately 750,000 tons of diammonium phosphate (DAP) annually based on sulfuric acid produced at the site and approximately 870,000 tons annually if supplemental sulfuric acid is available for purchase. Two-thirds to three-quarters of this product is sold domestically, with the balance exported, primarily to Latin America. The Company’s export sales are marketed through Transammonia, Inc., a major global trading company. Mississippi Phosphates’ deep-water port facility on the Gulf of Mexico allows the Company to load ships for export directly from the plant site. Domestic sales of DAP are handled through the company’s internal sales staff and are distributed by rail, truck and barge.|
|Personnel||Richard Johnson - Vice President of Operations|
September 15, 2014 - An Environmental Protection Agency inspector, during a tour of Mississippi Phosphates in 2009, walked through a puddle so acidic it ate leather off the inspector’s steel-toed boots. The inspector’s vivid account is one of dozens from an inspection that year that yielded a biting administrative order from the EPA to the company, using the words “imminent and substantial” danger when referring to the possible impact on human health or the environment. The federal agency ordered the company to fix uncontrolled leaks and spills of sulfuric acid on its grounds, and stop untreated discharges to the adjacent bayou and uncontrolled spills and leaks of phosphoric acid to unlined ditches. The agency found more issues in 2011, and in 2012, reinforced its orders to clean up. Then last year, the state Department of Environmental Quality shut down two plants at the fertilizer manufacturer because they were creating an acid mist that caused neighboring industry to evacuate workers. All the while, a neighborhood less than a mile away says it was unaware of the reports. Cherokee Forest has 132 homes along heavily industrialized Bayou Casotte in east Pascagoula, where several industries contribute heavily to air emissions. Residents have been complaining in recent years about thick dust, strong acrid smells and health problems. They’ve told regulators what’s in the air and what’s on the ground at neighboring industry is coming into their yards, onto their cars, onto their skin and into their lungs. The company says it has fixed its problems from the 2009 inspection. “EPA conducted a final compliance inspection in October 2010 and confirmed that MPC had implemented all the corrective action items addressed in the 2009 order,” it said in a statement to the Sun Herald. Over the last five years, MPC has continued to invest in its operation and environmental programs and work with the EPA and Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to ensure future environmental compliance at the facility.” So what’s the significance of the EPA inspector’s boot? Howard Page, a community coordinator with the STEPS Coalition in Biloxi, who helped organize the neighborhood into a group, said although Mississippi Phosphates has made improvements, he believes the story of the acid puddle is relevant today. “It shows how very real the threat is,” Page said. “It’s not the most recent event; things the company has been cited for and had to correct. But it captures the issue — how strong that acid is. “If it does that to a boot, just imagine what it does when you’re breathing it as a mist. It’s a concrete example of what people are facing, not just odors or a possible concern.” Mississippi Phosphates said it pledged more than $2.5 million to cleanup what the EPA found in 2009, has made other improvements and more recently has offered air monitors in the neighborhood to detect sulfuric acid. But Page said he believes the chronic history of problems, “not one or two times, but a long series of incidents” presents a health threat to workers and nearby residents. He said there’s a need to control the risk to workers and neighbors. “The process they operate there that involves acid is a potentially dangerous process if it’s not managed and overseen well,” he said. Page said one issue for the neighborhood has been substantiating their complaints. And though other industries are putting dust and chemicals in the air, remarks of trained EPA inspectors at Mississippi Phosphates in the 2009 report sound familiar to residents:
• “the sampling team tasted a metallic flavor in the air that permeated to the back of the throat. Sampling team members complained of burning, stinging and itchy skin and eyes. The metallic taste remained with EPA personnel for at least two days after leaving the site.”
• “The ongoing inhalation of sulfuric acid mist may pose substantial harm to personnel at and visitors to the facility.”
• “The effects of discharges . extend far beyond the initial discharge zone, reaching to the other side of Bayou Casotte, and far into the commercial turning basin (of the bayou).”
• “Low pH liquids facilitate the mobilization of metals such as arsenic, cadmium and chromium. Metals are readily leached from the soils and or sediment into groundwater upon contact with a solution of pH less than 3.5.” The puddle one inspector stepped in had a pH of less than 2 (the company’s permit allows a range of 6 to 9).
Today, the residents, complaining of health issues, find it is up to them to chase complaints and prove their case. And Page pointed out local government, the Department of Environmental Quality and the industries are also at the table looking for solutions. Barbara Weckesser, who leads the neighborhood group, said she had representatives from all four industries — Chevron Pascagoula Refinery, First Chemical and VT Halter Marine and Signal International — in her driveway last week, collecting dust samples and responding to reports of a strong odor Aug. 29. The neighborhood has put together an informal health survey that shows asthma rates in adults well above the national average. They have made formal comments on industries wanting to expand or to renew their air quality permits. They’re learning. Page said they met with the state Health Department and the Department of Environmental Quality. “Mississippi Phosphates says they think they’ve addressed their issues. The others say the same,” he said. “But the citizens are having to do the work. It’s on them, having to struggle to prove the case. They are persistent, meeting the challenge to scientifically prove their suspicions are correct.” They chase down reports, try to determine which industry is creating dust or releasing something with a strong odor, Page said, even as they are trying to carry on with their lives, he said. “They have to get up each morning and go to work.” www.hattiesburgamerican.com
July 11, 2014 - Mississippi Phosphates Corp. announced Friday it plans to consolidate operations to the company's Pascagoula plant, closing its corporate headquarters in Madison. "In light of pending retirements and other staffing changes, it makes sense to move these responsibilities to the plant," said Jim Sherbert, chief executive officer. It will allow the company to increase efficiency and eliminate costs associated with maintaining a remote headquarters, he said. "We are pleased, as this brings decision-making to the local level, improving our ability to be nimble and address needs within the plant," said Ajay Kumar, senior vice president and general manager of operations. "This is another step forward as we continue to make progress in advancing vital production, environmental and safety initiatives." The company has been under state Department of Environmental Quality restraints since the state agency forced it to shut down two of its Pascagoula units for a period of time last year, and it has been slow in paying county taxes. Kumar, who joined Mississippi Phosphates in May, leads a change-management team that includes Pascagoula native Wes Smith as production manager and Robert Kerley as chief financial officer. This team is responsible for improving operations, handling environmental enhancements and implementing corrective-action plans. Sherbert said the change is timely, given the retirements of longtime executives Ed McCraw and Jim Perkins. "We appreciate the decades of committed service by Ed and Jim, who have worked diligently to support and to keep this complex enterprise operating during difficult times," Sherbert said in a written statement. "With their departure, this is the right time and right business decision as we work to address issues and improve operations." Fewer than 10 staffers will be affected by the closure of the Madison location. Mississippi Phosphates is a Delaware corporation that produces diammonium phosphate, DAP, the most common form of phosphate fertilizer used on major row crops. The plant has been in Pascagoula since 1958 and consists of two sulfuric acid units, a phosphoric acid unit and a DAP granulation unit that can produce 850,000 tons a year. The sulfuric acid units have the capacity to produce sulfuric acid sufficient for annual DAP production of about 600,000 to 640,000 tons.
June 23, 2014 - Mississippi Phosphates will shut down its plant if sulfur dioxide levels read dangerously high, an official told east Pascagoula residents Monday night. The company presented an air monitor proposal to residents of the Cherokee neighborhood during a meeting at the Pascagoula Senior Center. The monitors will check for sulfur dioxide. The company has ordered two monitors at a total cost of $17,000. The monitors are expected to arrive within the next month and will be installed once permanent locations are determined. The monitors will read 24 hours a day. In the interim, company representatives are monitoring sulfur dioxide levels daily in the neighborhood with handheld monitors, said Kyle Mcculloch of Allen Engineering, which serves as a third-party to monitor readings. "It's a start. We're making progress," resident Julie Hambey said. "Maybe other companies will step up and monitor another chemical." Hambey said the smell in the community is overwhelming and often times causes her to have a headache along with an itchy throat and a burning sensation in her eyes. If levels of sulfur dioxide read high, the plant will shut down until corrections can be made, said Ajay Kumar, Mississippi Phosphates senior vice president and general manager of operations. The readings will be immediately reported to the MDEQ for further actions and emergency response. This may be a first for the Coast and even the state -- placing an air monitor in a neighborhood. Usually air quality monitors are placed in neutral locations that meet federal guidelines, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality said. There is already a monitor along U.S. 90 in West Pascagoula. Mississippi Phosphates installed monitors along its property line last fall. Officials said they have had monitors on their stacks. The company began emissions in 1958. Concerned Citizens of Cherokee, which hosted Monday night's meeting, was established by residents after years of dealing with air quality issues. Over the past couple of years, it has grown worse, they say, as dust settles thick on the 150 homes and an acrid odor lingers day and night. The Sun Herald was the first to reveal that the state issued a cease and desist order at Mississippi Phosphates in August 2013, requiring the facility to shut down because two neighboring industries reported sulfuric acid mist coming from the fertilizer plant. Those industries evacuated their employees, or sheltered them in place at times during July and August 2013, but no one warned the neighborhood, which is about a mile from the plant. Barbara Weckesser, president of Concerned Citizens of Cherokee, previously told the Sun Herald she learned that 60 percent of adults and children in the neighborhood have experienced sinus or respiratory problems in the past two years and 13 percent of residents have had pneumonia. Although she is glad the monitors are coming to her neighborhood, she wants to know that the smell, gray smoke and mist are also identified. Weckesser sustained sulfuric acid burns on her face that she says are still healing. No one has yet identified what causes the smell or physical symptoms, though company officials will monitor sulfur dioxide. Out of 2,900 chemical facilities in the nation, Mississippi Phosphates ranks 84th in toxic releases based on its release of 810,000 pounds of ammonia into the air each year.
June 13, 2014 - Mississippi Phosphates Corp. will install an air monitoring device in a Pascagoula neighborhood amid residents' intensifying worries about the health and environmental impacts of the fertilizer manufacturer. The company reported a second sulfuric acid release this past week. Madison-based Mississippi Phosphates, which employs about 220, makes sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid, which it uses to produce fertilizer. On May 28, Mississippi Phosphates reported a release of acidic water. The company's permit allows it to discharge water with a pH in the range of 6-9, roughly balanced between acidic and basic. Residents near the plant have been complaining of odors, acid mists and other issues. The Sun Herald reports Mississippi Phosphates agreed to the monitoring system after a conference call with local officials and state and federal regulators.June 6, 2014 - Mississippi Phosphates Corp. reported a second minor sulfuric acid release on Thursday amid residents' intensifying worries about the health and environmental impacts of the diammonium phosphate fertilizer manufacturer. Mississippi Phosphates, which employs about 220 at its Industrial Road plant in east Jackson County, makes sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid to produce DAP fertilizer. The company notified the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the National Response Center of the spill Thursday, MDEQ spokesman Robbie Wilbur said. "They assured us it had been contained on land and that they had begun cleaning it up," he said Friday, noting the agency is still collecting information on the incident. On May 28, Mississippi Phosphates reported low pH water from sulfuric acid released. The company's permit allows discharge with a pH in the range of 6-9. "We have been and will continue to closely monitor this facility and address issues when we need to," Wilbur said. "We take that responsibility very seriously." Citizens adjacent to the plant have most recently been complaining of odors, acid mists and other issues. Some of those residents organized a group called Cherokee Concerned Citizens to meet with industrial and regulatory representatives to voice their concerns, which include other businesses besides Mississippi Phosphates. "There seems to be a noticeable increase in reported incidents starting with the shut down last fall and numerous reports in the most recent months," Pascagoula councilwoman at large Brenda Simkins said of the company. "It feels like I am receiving a report every seven to 14 days, so one has to ask what the cumulative effect is even if each isolated incident is within regulatory guidelines," she said. "I am extremely concerned for the impact to our citizens, the environment and our other industrial partners." Late last year, MDEQ issued cease-and-desist orders for the company to shut down its sulfuric acid plants due to reports of an acid mist. The plant is now operating under restrictions that were handed down from the state in October. It's "imperative we develop an understanding of these increased activities such that we formulate an educated and objective assessment," Simkins said. "As a city, we will pursue answers to these questions and will continue to maintain the lines of communication between our citizens, MDEQ and our industrial partners." The DAP plant has a history of run-ins with state and federal regulatory agencies. Also last year, MDEQ had to issue a fishing and water contact closure for Bayou Casotte after a large fish kill was linked to low pH waters released from Mississippi Phosphates. In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered the company to take immediate action after corrosive water was discovered outside a perimeter dike. That order also directed Mississippi Phosphates to continue corrective actions included in a previous order from September 2009, when the EPA cited the company with leaks of sulfuric acid and untreated discharges from sulfuric acid plants to the adjacent bayou and leaks of phosphoric acid to unlined ditches. Also in 2012, the plant experienced two fatalities in explosions that occurred within two weeks of each other. Those incidents claimed the lives of 39-year-old Jeffrey Simpson and 20-year old Jeremy Moore. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration later cited the plant with 40 safety and health violations related to the deaths.
May 30, 2014 - Fertilizer manufacturer Mississippi Phosphates has put an emergency bypass in place to collect runoff from its sulfuric acid plant that was going into a storm drain, according to a published report Friday. The Mississippi Press reports it has obtained documents that show the company notified the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center about the incident on Wednesday. The plant has been operating under certain restrictions handed down from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality in late October. State regulators issued cease-and-desist orders in August and again in September for Mississippi Phosphates to shut down their sulfuric acid plants due to reports of an acid mist that was affecting residents in east Pascagoula as well as other industries along Bayou Casotte. The newspaper reports an email circulated among Jackson County leaders and city of Pascagoula officials notes Mississippi Phosphates "has started their emergency bypass of process water off the gypsum stack. They are planning on a 10-day bypass." The plant, owned by Madison-based Phosphate Holdings Inc., manufactures sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid to produce diammonium phosphate fertilizer. It employs about 240 people in Pascagoula. People in the area have formed the group Concerned Citizens of Cherokee to document smells, dust and pollution and raising those concerns with state and local officials and their industrial neighbors. The group is also working with the Steps Coalition, which is helping them target their efforts on the permitting process and further documentation of the issues they face.
November 26, 2012 - Mississippi Phosphates Corp. has been cited by the government for 40 safety and health violations following the deaths of two workers in separate incidents at the company’s Pascagoula facilities. Occupational Safety and Health Administration says in a news release Monday that it has proposed penalties of $165,900. The company has 15 days to appeal. On May 22, a worker died while attempting to start up a steam turbine in sulfuric acid plant and being hit by flying metal debris when the turbine housing ruptured due to apparent over pressurization. In a similar incident on June 1, a worker restarting a tripped steam turbine in sulfuric acid plant also was killed by flying metal debris when the turbine housing ruptured due to over pressurization. OSHA cited other safety and health violations including exposing workers to “struck-by” hazards by not protecting them against over pressurization and failing to maintain and service equipment in accordance with the company’s maintenance program to prevent over pressurization. The company also was cited for failing to test and inspect pressure relief devices throughout the facility.
February 19, 2010 - Mississippi Phosphate Corp. and the
Environmental Protection Agency have agreed on how to fix environmental
violations remaining after a 2009 inspection, and some found last year.
Many actions were taken in 2009 to tackle problems found by the federal
agency, but it took more than two years to agree on all the terms and
permanent solutions, Richard Johnson, Mississippi Phosphate's vice president
of operations told The Mississippi Press. About 240 people work at the
plant owned by Phosphate Holdings Inc. of Madison. It makes sulfuric
acid and phosphoric acid for fertilizer. In 2009, the EPA said that
the plant posed a danger to health and the environment because of violations
including inadequate safety equipment, improper storage, leaks of sulfuric
acid, and leaks of phosphoric acid to unlined ditches. Company leaders
said then that fixing the problems would cost about $2.5 million. The
EPA's final order, outlining progress and required future actions, said many
of the original problems have been corrected but inspections last year found
"imminent and substantial" danger from corrosive water outside a perimeter
dike. Johnson said the dike is stable, but the water was seeping from
a stack closed in 2005. He said the company immediately neutralized the
liquid and made a berm of agricultural lime to keep the bayou safe during
heavy rains. Johnson said he plans to permanently fix the problem by
installing remediation wells.
November 10, 2011 - Phosphate Holdings, Inc. today reported a third quarter 2011 profit of $1.5 million, or $0.18 per diluted share of common stock, compared to earnings of $2.5 million, or $0.30 per diluted share of common stock for the same period in 2010. Total net sales for the third quarter of 2011 were $94.7 million, a 35 percent increase from total net sales of $70.4 million for the third quarter of 2010. The average sales price per short ton of DAP during the third quarter of 2011 was $578, a 27 percent increase from the prior-year period average sales price of $455. During the third quarter, the Company sold 162,761 tons of DAP, with 112,120 tons moving into domestic markets and 50,641 tons moving into export markets. This represents a 7 percent increase over the 152,500 tons sold in the third quarter of 2010. The Company recorded operating income of $2.7 million for the third quarter of 2011, compared to operating income of $3.9 million for the prior-year period. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the third quarter of 2011 were $6.6 million, compared to EBITDA of $7.3 million for the third quarter of 2010. In the third quarter of 2010, EBITDA was favorably impacted by litigation settlements, net of related costs, of $0.8 million. DAP prices began the quarter at $595 per short ton, NOLA, and $645 per metric ton, FOB, U.S. Gulf. At quarter's end, DAP prices were $586 per short ton, NOLA, and $635 per metric ton, FOB, U.S. Gulf. Sulfur prices in the quarter were posted at $220 per long ton, CFR, Tampa. Ammonia prices began the quarter at $555 per metric ton, CFR, Tampa, and closed the quarter at $650 per metric ton, CFR, Tampa. Commenting on third quarter results, Robert E. Jones, Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are pleased to report positive third quarter results. Our third quarter EBITDA of $6.6 million represents a 234 percent improvement over our second quarter 2011 EBITDA level of $2.0 million. During the third quarter of 2011, we produced 167,000 tons of DAP, which is the highest DAP production level since our second quarter of 2009. However, sulfuric acid production in one of our two sulfuric acid plants operated throughout the quarter at substantially reduced rates due to a damaged heat exchanger. As a result, approximately 27 percent of our third quarter DAP production was produced with purchased sulfuric acid. DAP produced with purchased sulfuric acid had much lower margins than DAP produced with internally generated sulfuric acid. 'On October 21, 2011, we commenced a major maintenance turnaround during which we addressed all known issues constraining sulfuric acid production. During the course of the turnaround, work was performed on both sulfuric acid plants as well as on the phosphoric acid and DAP plants. The turnaround was completed on November 7, 2011 and, while no assurance can be given, we expect materially improved operating rates. Downtime associated with these maintenance activities will adversely impact fourth quarter operations. We are projecting DAP production of approximately 150,000 to 160,000 tons in the fourth quarter." Shifting to the near-to-intermediate-term industry outlook, Jones added, "A very late harvest in much of the U.S. has delayed and will shorten the domestic fall application season. As a result, demand has been soft and DAP prices have declined from $615, on August 1, 2011 to a current level of $565 per short ton, FOB, NOLA. Looking beyond the 2011 fall season, market underpinnings appear strong with high grain prices, historically low grain stocks and a promising demand outlook for the 2012 spring season." As of September 30, 2011, the Company had a cash balance of approximately $4.3 million and borrowings under our revolving credit agreement of $7.5 million. The Company continues to aggressively manage its liquidity and believes that its operating results and available credit facilities should be adequate to meet the Company's financing needs for the foreseeable future. At the end of 2010, our Board of Directors appointed a special committee of independent directors to initiate a comprehensive review of strategic options. While this review is ongoing, we will not hold an earnings call to discuss our third quarter 2011 financial results and will not otherwise discuss this strategic process. When the strategic process is completed, we intend to resume regular quarterly earnings calls. The Company is a Delaware corporation and the sole stockholder of Mississippi Phosphates Corporation. Mississippi Phosphates Corporation is a Delaware corporation with its executive headquarters in Madison, Miss. Mississippi Phosphates Corporation owns and operates manufacturing facilities in Pascagoula, Miss., which produce diammonium phosphate, the most common form of phosphate fertilizer used as a source of phosphate on all major row crops.
August 11, 2011 - Phosphate Holdings, Inc., today reported a second quarter 2011 loss of $1.8 million, or $0.21 per diluted share of common stock, compared to a loss of $4.9 million, or $0.58 per diluted share of common stock for the same period in 2010. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the second quarter of 2011 were $2.0 million, compared to negative EBITDA of $4.6 million for the second quarter of 2010. Total net sales for the second quarter of 2011 were $80.5 million, a 30 percent increase from total net sales of $62.1 million for the second quarter of 2010. The average sales price per short ton of DAP during the second quarter of 2011 was $542.54, a 36 percent increase from the prior-year period average sales price of $400.26. During the second quarter, the Company sold 146,213 tons of DAP, with 74,361 tons moving into export markets and 71,852 tons moving into domestic markets. This compares with 152,434 tons of DAP sold in the second quarter of 2010. The Company had an operating loss of $2.6 million for the second quarter of 2011, compared to an operating loss of $7.1 million for the prior-year period. Robert E. Jones, Chief Executive Officer, said, "Operating issues were the dominant theme of our second quarter of 2011. We simply failed to achieve the production levels of sulfuric acid and DAP necessary for a positive quarter. For the quarter, DAP and sulfuric acid production was 134,445 and 146,043, respectively. We relied heavily on purchased sulfuric acid to supplement DAP production. However, the cost of DAP produced with purchased sulfuric acid is substantially higher than the cost of DAP manufactured using produced acid. "The primary factors negatively impacting our production included phosphate rock shortages due to logistical issues in Morocco which idled our phosphoric acid and DAP plants for nine days; damaged heat exchangers which limited instantaneous rates to approximately 1,000 to 1,200 tons per day in both sulfuric acid plants; and a scheduled maintenance turnaround of one of our sulfuric acid plants which required 19 days. "During the May turnaround, we replaced the impaired heat exchanger and re-established instantaneous rates in excess of the affected plants' design capacity of 1,500 tons per day. The damaged heat exchanger in our other sulfuric acid plant will be replaced in a scheduled October 2011 turnaround. "Phosphate market underpinnings were strong during the second quarter of 2011. Posted DAP prices ranged from $530 to $590 per short ton, NOLA, and $600 to $645 per metric ton, FOB, U.S. Gulf. Sulfur prices in the quarter were posted at $220 per long ton, CFR, Tampa. Ammonia prices averaged $563 per metric ton, CFR, Tampa, during the quarter. "Looking to our third quarter, global phosphate markets should remain strong. The compromised heat exchanger will continue to constrain production from the No. 3 Plant, and we will again seek to augment DAP production with purchased sulfuric acid. We currently project that total DAP production in the third quarter of 2011 will be approximately 155,000 to 165,000 tons, and that 15 to 20 percent of that total will be produced with purchased sulfuric acid."
May 12, 2011 - Phosphate Holdings, Inc. today reported a first quarter 2011 net income of $16,000, compared to net income of $2.6 million for the same period in 2010. The Company achieved operating income of $53,000 for the first quarter of 2011, compared to operating income of $4.2 million for the prior-year period. Earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the first quarter of 2011 were $3.8 million, compared to EBITDA of $7.2 million for the first quarter of 2010. Net sales for the first quarter of 2011 were $77.6 million, a 29 percent increase over net sales of $60.1 million for the first quarter of 2010. The average sales price per short ton of DAP for the first quarter of 2011 was $539, which represents a 1 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2010 average sales price per short ton of DAP, which was $534, and a 30 percent increase over the first quarter of 2010, which was $415. During the first quarter of 2011, the Company sold 140,968 short tons of DAP, with 81,606 short tons moving into domestic markets. Robert E. Jones, Chief Executive Officer, said, “During the first quarter of 2011, our DAP production was impacted by phosphate rock shortages. Severe flooding in Morocco interrupted rock deliveries from the mines to the port causing significant delays in the delivery of phosphate rock to our facility. As a result, we curtailed production during late January and early February to avoid a complete shutdown of our phosphoric acid and DAP granulation plants. As phosphate rock deliveries resumed, we experienced strong DAP granulation results, with 61,885 short tons produced in March 2011. This represents our highest monthly DAP production level in four years. Total DAP production in the first quarter of 2011 was 149,031 short tons. “Early in our second quarter, we experienced additional delays in phosphate rock deliveries, again due to logistical difficulties in Morocco. These delays will result in a shutdown of our DAP granulation and phosphoric acid plants for approximately eight days in early May 2011. To mitigate the impact of this shutdown, we advanced a planned maintenance turnaround on one of our sulfuric acid plants. Both the planned and unplanned outages will impact our second quarter DAP production volumes, which we currently project to be 140,000 to 150,000 short tons. “From a market perspective, the average posted DAP price was $550 per short ton (NOLA), in the first quarter of 2011. Sulfur prices in the first quarter were posted at $185 per long ton (CFR, Tampa). Ammonia prices began the first quarter at $475 per metric ton (CFR, Tampa), and closed the first quarter at $555 per metric ton (CFR, Tampa).”
May 3, 2011 - Mississippi Phosphate Corp.'s Pascagoula plant has remedied all of its small violations cited by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2009, leaders said, but the company awaits EPA approval before implementing plans to fix the larger issues. "We're still working with the EPA, and all of that has gone very well," said Richard Johnson, president of operations. "We have proposals on ways to correct the larger problems that are currently being evaluated by the EPA, and the smaller items are taken care of." The company, which is owned by Madison-based Phosphate Holdings Inc. and employs about 260, manufactures sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid to produce diammonium phosphate, or DAP, fertilizer. In summer 2009, the EPA and Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality inspected and took samples around the plant. According to the order issued following those visits, violations included inadequate safety equipment, improper storage and spills and leaks of solid and liquid wastes. "Throughout their inspections and investigations, they identified some problems that we didn't know we had," Johnson said. The more serious violations principally involved the sulfuric acid plant, Johnson said. "We had some soil samples that came back with a low pH," he said. "We need to remediate that soil." The less serious environmental issues already taken care of included mitigating surface water contamination and providing chemical-resistant clothing for employees. The plant, which opened in 1958, has separate plants on site that manufacture sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid and DAP. "We've dedicated the time and the money and the resources to get those items corrected," Johnson said. As of Dec. 31, the company has spent $5.4 million toward the environmental remediation effort. "Now we're kind of in the wait mode until we get approval," Johnson said. "From the time that EPA says our plan is good, it'll take us a year and a half to implement that plan."
May 2, 2011 - When a company has no control over the costs of its raw materials, it had better produce a steady stream of product, said Richard Johnson, Mississippi Phosphates Corp.'s vice president of operations. The company, which was spun off from the bankrupt Mississippi Chemical Corp. in late 2004, manufactures sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid to produce diammonium phosphate, or DAP, fertilizer. The company's three raw materials -- phosphate rock, ammonia and sulfur -- are all subject to large price fluctuations said Johnson, a Gulfport native who returned to the coast in November to take his current job. "The fertilizer business as a whole is rocky," Johnson said. "It is so influenced by factors we can't control, such as the cost of our raw materials, fuel costs, weather conditions in the Midwest and even foreign governments." For example, the industry suffered when China decided it would stop importing DAP and make its own, he said, and India subsidizes its farmers, so the government sets the price and volume of product that will be imported each year. And DAP itself has experienced dramatic price fluctuations in the 30 years that Johnson has been in the industry, he said, as low as $175 and as high as $1,300 per ton. "It's a roller coaster ride you really don't want to take," Johnson said. Additionally, Mississippi Phosphate is "really small relative to our competition," he said. "We don't get to set the price," he said. "DAP is truly a world commodity, and we don't have the ability to pass on the costs of our raw materials to the customer." What all of that means for Mississippi Phosphates, Johnson said, is that the plant has to be well maintained so it can keep pumping out product. "The key to it is that we're not in charge of the price and we're not in charge of the raw materials, so the more volume we can make, the better off we'll be," he said. "We just have to make the plant run." On average, the company makes about 2,400 tons a day, which is sold domestically and abroad in places such as Latin America, India, Pakistan and "wherever the market calls for," he said. The plant employs about 250 people in Pascagoula and about 10 at the corporate headquarters in Madison. Johnson said he's very pleased with his employees so far. March was especially productive, he said, as the plant produced 61,000 tons of DAP, the most it has produced in one month in the last three years. "For an older plant, that's pretty good," he said, noting the plant opened in 1958.
November 9, 2010 - During its third fiscal quarter of 2010, production problems impaired the Company's ability to fully participate in a rapidly improving phosphate market. A waste heat boiler in one of the Company's sulfuric acid plants, which failed during June 2010, was repaired by the end of the second quarter; however, collateral damage to other parts of the plant caused by the boiler failure could not be addressed until the scheduled maintenance turnaround currently underway. For the third quarter, the Company's sulfuric acid production was approximately 187,000 tons, or 77 percent of originally planned levels. Reduced sulfuric acid production had a corresponding unfavorable impact on DAP production, which was approximately 156,000 short tons. "On November 1, 2010, we commenced a major maintenance turnaround during which we plan to address all known issues constraining sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid and DAP production. During the course of the turnaround, work will be performed on both sulfuric acid plants as well as on the phosphoric acid and DAP plants. The downtime associated with these maintenance activities will adversely impact fourth quarter operations. For the quarter, we are projecting DAP production of approximately 140,000 to 150,000 tons. While no assurance can be given, we currently expect to emerge from the November turnaround at materially improved operating rates."
2010 2nd Q Report - Second quarter 2010 operating results were negatively impacted by plant production issues. Sulphuric acid production was approximately 66% of planned levels. Production rates at both sulphuric acid plants were impacted by problems with the interstage absorption coolers. Moreover, a boiler failure in one of the sulphuric acid plant which shut that sulphuric plant down for 27 days during the quarter. The boiler has been repaired and the sulphuric acid plant came online on June 24, 2010. As a result of the boiler failure and the lost sulphuric acid production, sulphuric acid was purchased to augment DAP production. The purchased sulphuric acid did not provide the same margins as produced sulphuric acid. To provide adequate steam for the phosphoric acid and DAP granulation plant, the auxiliary boilers were operates which added approximately $0.5 million in additional natrual gas costs. The boiler failure also impacted other areas of the plant and contributed to a sharp increase in maintenance expense during the quarter. Second quarter maintenance expenses were over $1.0 million above the prior year second quarter levels.
2010 1st Q Report - Operational issues negatively impacted the Company's results. Production fo DAP was approximately 78% of planned production levels for the quarter. The shortfall resulted from various unplanned outgaes in the sulphuric acid plants. Various factors, including extreme cold temperatures and heavy rainfall events, contributed to these unplanned outages. Additionally, a planned maintenance turnaround was taken on the No. 2 sulphuric acid plant during the this period. Subsequent to the turnaround problems with the coolers in the interstage absorption towers developed requiring replacement of the coolers.
November 20, 2009 - It will likely cost about $2.5 million to correct environmental violations cited at the Pascagoula Mississippi Phosphates plant this summer, company leaders said Thursday during a third-quarter conference call. In August, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered the company to correct spills, improper storage and other violations found during an inspection by EPA and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. Mississippi Phosphates makes sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid to produce diammonium phosphate, or DAP, fertilizer. The EPA said the plant posed a danger to health and the environment. Violations there include inadequate safety equipment, improper storage, and spills and leaks of solid and liquid wastes. The company said Thursday that it had spent about $600,000 toward groundwater remediation and expected to spend up to $2.5 million to remedy all the violations. That total does not include any potential civil penalties sought by EPA and MDEQ, said Robert Jones, the company's chief executive. To date, the company has "either complied with each and every dictate or submitted a plan of compliance and are awaiting EPA response," he said. Madison, Miss.-based Phosphate Holdings Inc., which owns the 230-employee plant in Pascagoula, saw sales and profit fall in the third quarter. The company reported earnings of $724,000, compared to earnings of $12.6 million in the same quarter of 2008. The company lost $10.7 million in the nine months that ended Sept. 30. Company officials said they are optimistic about the fourth quarter. "DAP prices are increasing," Jones said. "The outlook is firm, primarily driven by continued demand in China." The average price of DAP in the third quarter was $267 per ton, he said, in contrast to averages above $1,000 per ton in 2008. Jim Perkins, who oversees sales and marketing, said the company looks forward to a "robust spring season," as farmers who saw bumper crops should have money to buy fertilizer.
September 30, 2009 - The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a Pascagoula chemical company to correct problems it says have resulted in "an imminent and substantial danger to human health and the environment." The Sun Herald in Gulfport/Biloxi reports EPA issued its order to Mississippi Phosphates, which manufactures sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid and phosphate-based fertilizer. EPA and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality inspected the plant during the summer. EPA said hazardous materials were found in soil and water at the site. The agency blamed the problems on numerous spills of solid and liquid hazardous wastes. EPA believes that an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health and the environment exists at the facility due to improper storage, inadequate worker safety equipment and many leaks and spills of solid and liquid hazardous wastes. Some of the work required of MPC in the 7003 Order includes immediate treatment and containment of releases of hazardous waste; submittal of plans and timetables for rapid remediation of contaminated media; identifying and repairing sources of leaks and spills of sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, and acidic process wastewaters on-site; submittal of plans and timetables for mitigating contaminant migration; and providing all employees with chemical resistant clothing for use inside the plant. EPA and MDEQ will continue to work jointly to oversee MPC's compliance with environmental laws, regulations and permits.
MTPD - Metric Tonne per Day
STPD - Short Ton per Day
MTPA - Metric Tonne per Annum STPA - Short Ton per Annum
SA - Single Absorption
DA - Double Absorption
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