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Our Business

 

Phosphate and Industrial Minerals

 

Phosphate

Of all our mining products, none is as essential to life as phosphate. Phosphates are a naturally occurring form of the element phosphorus, one of the three primary nutrients--nitrogen and potassium are the other two--required for photosynthesis and crop growth. At Ma’aden, we mine phosphate rock and process it into phosphate products, including di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) and mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP), the most widely used ammonia phosphate fertilizers in modern agriculture.

Our vision is to be among the leading players in the global phosphate trade. As the global population continues to grow, the demand for protein-rich food increases while arable land per capita declines. Fertilizers – including ammonia phosphate fertilizers – play an important role in boosting crop output and contributing to stable food supplies around the world. The global demand for phosphorus is increasing by about 1.5 million tonnes a year.

With our natural phosphate deposits in the north of the country, access to sulfur and natural gas for processing and proximity to promising markets in South Asia and East Africa, we are in a strong position to serve this global need.

Our phosphate business consists of three mega-projects:

Ma’aden Phosphate Company (MPC)

MPC is a joint venture between SABIC (30 percent) and Ma’aden and represents a USD 5.6 billion (nearly SAR 21 billion) investment. It operates at two primary sites: Al Jalamid in northern Saudi Arabia, home to our phosphate mine and beneficiation plant, and the Eastern Province’s Ras Al Khair, where our integrated chemical and fertilizer facility is based.

The mine produces close to 11.6 million tonnes of ore per year, and the beneficiation facilities up to 5 million tonnes of concentrated phosphate rock per year. We have made significant infrastructure investments in Al Jalamid, building a power plant, potable water and communications facilities, and transport networks that make our exploration and production viable.

From here, concentrated rock is taken by rail to Ras Al Khair for processing in our network of facilities including phosphoric acid, sulfuric acid, ammonia, DAP granulation and desalination plants. At full capacity, MPC can produce 3 million tonnes of DAP annually, most of which is sold to international markets.

Ma’aden Wa’ad Al Shamal Phosphate Company (MWSPC)

Our second big project is the fully integrated MWSPC, a joint venture between Ma’aden (60%), SABIC (15%) and the US-headquartered Mosaic (25%), the world’s largest producer of phosphate fertilizers. With around USD 8 billion (over SAR 31 billion) investment, the new complex includes seven large world-class plants and associated facilities, making it one of the largest phosphate facilities in the world.

MWSPC has the capacity to produce 3 million tonnes of fertilizer products (such as DAP, MAP and NP/NP K fertilizers), as well as 440,000 tonnes of other downstream products (such as purified phosphoric acid used in food industries, sodium tri-polyphosphate used in detergents, and di-calcium phosphate and mono-calcium phosphate used to produce animal feed).

Complementary plants to produce ammonia and ammonia phosphate-based fertilizers were built near the port facilities at Ras Al Khair; the North-South Railway links the twin sites. When the project started up in 2017, it became a great source of pride for Saudi Arabia and elevated Ma’aden’s stature as a leading player in the global phosphates market.

New phosphate project

In late 2016, Ma’aden announced it was launching a feasibility study to define a third world-class phosphate fertilizer project to be based in the Wa’ad Al Shamal area. In October 2018, Ma’aden signed an SAR 3.35 billion (USD 892 million) engineering, procurement and construction with South Korean company Daelim to build the first of the several plants under the project: a 1.1 million tonne per annum ammonia plant.

In late 2016, Ma’aden announced it was launching a feasibility study to define a third world-class phosphate fertilizer project to be based in the Wa’ad Al Shamal area. In October 2018, Ma’aden signed an SAR 3.35 billion (USD 892 million) engineering, procurement and construction with South Korean company Daelim to build the first of the several plants under the project: a 1.1 million tonne per annum ammonia plant.

Industrial minerals

In addition to its petroleum, natural gas and metallic mineral riches, Saudi Arabia is also blessed with industrial minerals – materials other than fuel, metal or gemstones mined for their commercial value. They are part of a diverse range of products that are commonly used in diverse industries, from construction to ceramics and paint to plastics.

Our industrial minerals are produced by the Industrial Minerals Company (IMC), established in 2009 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Ma’aden. It specializes in extracting and adding value to the Kingdom’s extensive deposits of industrial minerals which include low grade bauxite (LGB), kaolin and caustic calcined magnesite (CCM). Our industrial mineral production is used to meet the needs of Ma’aden affiliates, with the remaining output supplied to Saudi and GCC customers. Our operations include:

  • a kaolin and LGB mine in the central zone of Az Zabirah deposit in Saudi Arabia’s Hail province;
  • a high grade magnesite mine at Al Ghazalah and
  • a processing plant at Al Madinah Al Munawarah.

Ma’aden’s presence and growing capabilities in industrial minerals is a strong indicator of our readiness to engage in new and technologically evolving industries and businesses. Although industrial minerals make up a relatively small segment of our business, the versatility, specificity and newness of these resources and their applications require the most exacting efforts and challenge us to stay ahead of constantly evolving industries and emerging technologies.

Our industrial minerals business has grown steadily and consistently since the start-up of LGB production in 2008. We added kaolin and CCM to our portfolio in 2011 and have posted year-on-year growth ever since.

Magnesite

Ma'aden operates a magnesite mine at Al Ghazalah and a processing plant at Madinah Industrial City which has a processing line with a Multiple Hearth Furnace (MHF) to produce CCM and a processing line with a vertical shaft kiln (VSK) to produce dead burned magnesia (DBM) and a processing line for the production of monolithics premix. The MHF line has a design capacity of 39,000 tonnes per year of CCM and the product is primarily used in the metallurgical industry and for animal feed, fertilizer and wastewater treatment.

Low Grade Bauxite and Kaolin

Az Zabirah kaolin and LGB mine consists of an open pit mine and a processing facility. The mine started operation in 2008 supplying LGB to local cement companies. Supply of kaolin to the phosphates industry for the production of phosphoric acid started in 2011.