Potash factory

Development of natural resources of the country - investments into the future

In realization of economic strategy of Turkmenistan, the important role is given to the development of the chemical industry. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov marks thereupon, «considering enormous resource potential of the chemical industry, the presence of the richest deposits of poly metals, other minerals, we will further pay prime attention to perspective branch».

On March 16th, 2018 the President of Turkmenistan during a meeting with representatives of the private business, dated to 10th anniversary of the formation of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, has signed the Resolution, having confirmed the State program on a support of small and average entrepreneurship in Turkmenistan for 2018-2024 years. In this document, the development of potassium deposit and building of mountain-concentrating industrial complex on the territory of Koytendag district (Lebap region), with the yearly capacity not less than 700.000 tons of chloride of potassium is fixed as one of the priority directions. The execution of project shall be finished by 2021.

Specialists know that potassium, along with nitrogen and phosphorus is one of three basic nutritious components for plants. In agriculture, there is no equivalent for replacement of the potassium connections necessary for the cultivation of food cultures. Its basic function is to activate the development of enzymes and to promote the process of catalytic reactions. It stimulates photosynthesis in plants, and chlorine interferes with receipt of nitrates and radionuclides from soil harmful to the person. Thus, only together with potassium 1,5-3 times adoption of nitric fertilizers improves. The sufficient potassium food promotes more big crops, strengthens resistibility of plants to pests, diseases, frosts, and drought.

Potassium fertilizers are presented basically by chloride potassium, potassium sulfate and potassium nitrate. The basic part is made by potassium chloride. Depending on particles sizes there are granulated, coarse-grained, standard, small, dust-free products in an assortment of chloride potassium.

The general world resources of potassium salts are estimated at 80 billion t., confirmed – in 20 billion t. Their largest deposits are in Canada, Russia, Belarus, in Germany, France, the USA. Turkmenistan possesses the greatest general and confirmed resources.

On available capacities in the world on potassium production, 96 percent from these capacities is the share of the chloride potassium (KCl), the remained 4 percent is potassium sulfate (K2SO4) which is made directly from potash ore.

Despite the enormous resources of potash salts in bowels, their feature is the extremely non-uniform distribution on the world countries. Now it is maintained approximately 50 deposits located in 13 countries.

Manufacture of potash fertilizers is characterized by high level of concentration of mining and processing. More than 80 percent of resources used for potassium manufacture accounted for four countries - Canada (Potash Corporation and Agrium), Russia («Uralkaliy» Open Joint-stock Society and «Silvinit» Open Joint-stock Society), Belarus («Belaruskaliy» Republic Unitarian Enterprise Production Association) and Germany (Kali&Salz), being the largest manufacturers of the potassium fertilizers.

The unprecedented growth of consumption of chloride potassium was observed in the world during 1999-2007. In certain cases, consumption exceeded world production level. According to the assessment of experts of the International Association of mineral fertilizers manufacturers (IFA), as a whole, during the period from 1999 till 2006, consumption of chloride potassium in the world has grown for 20 percent (more than 8 million tons of the goods).

One of the main reasons of demand growth for fertilizers is the fast exhaustion of the developed agricultural grounds and slow development of new ones. The quantity of the processed acres counting per head in the world in an interval between 1950 and 2000 has decreased for 40 percent and it is expected that it will continue to decrease during several next decades. It is explained by the variety of factors, such as climate changes and urbanization growth. At the given tendency for maintenance of the population with the foodstuff, it is necessary to increase the productivity of agricultural crops.

The other factors causing a growth of manufacture of potassium fertilizers are a stable growth of population, demand increase at grain crops, bio-energetics development.

The chloride potassium, in comparison with phosphoric and nitric fertilizers, practically is not subject to recurrence, because in contrast to them its manufacture in much smaller sizes depends on the prices for natural gas. Thus, last years in the world the stable rise in prices for potash fertilizers is noted.

Branch analysts forecast the manufacturing increase of bioethanol and biodiesel engine. The growth of volumes of biofuel production conducts to a rise in prices for fertilizers, as raw materials for it are agricultural crops: sugarcane, corn, grain, olive cultures, rapes. Serious threats are not present to biofuel manufacture as an alternative energy source, the present direction finds support all over the world.

It is supposed that the next 10 years the tendency of the reached price indicators will remain. The reasons are:

-       Increase in volumes of biofuel production;

-       The rise of prices for grain;

-       Increase freight costs of vessels, because potassium is made in a rather limited number of regions, and demand is available worldwide.

The main reason is an increase of population of the Earth, considerably advancing expansion of the arable lands.

Without usage of fertilizers of present quantity of the acres, it has already been sufficient to feed only not more than 3 billion persons, while now the planet population is about 7 billion.

Under United Nations forecasts, by 2020 the population of the Earth will reach 7,7 billion persons. The areas of arable lands will be reduced per head: instead of 22,8 hundred in 2000, 18,3 remains by 2020 remains, and only seven to 2050.

The increase of intensity of land use, including usage of fertilizers, is represented a unique solution to a problem of food safety. The basic share of potassium fertilizers is brought to grain crops (52 percent), 18,4 percent - under technical, 17,6 percent - under forage crops and 8 percent - under potato.

By estimations of analysts within next years, demand for potassium fertilizers will grow for 3-4 percent a year, and in some countries, such as China, India, Brazil, it can exceed 5 percent. Thus, every year it will be demanded minimum 1,5 million tons of potassium fertilizers additionally, that is equal to the commissioning of average potassium mine and concentrating factory.

For data: consumption of potassium fertilizers in China makes 10-10,5 million tons a year, in Brazil - 6,5 million tons, in India - 8,0 million tons.

In whole, manufacture of potassium fertilizers is highly effective, highly profitable manufacturer. Competitiveness of manufacturers of potassium is defined by the level of the cost price of manufacture.

The major factors influencing the cost price are connected with quality and location of mineral raw materials, namely:

1.      The content of the useful component in the ore.

2.      Deposit type (bedding depth, watering, the capacity of layers, etc.)

3.      Cruds in ore, type of chloride magnesium which increases expenses on clearing.

Another factor of cost which plays an especially important role for exporters is expenses on transportation. Manufacturers of potassium do not have a choice where to build manufacture as it depends on raw materials source and consequently, their expenses will be considerably defined by a logistical component of expenses on export.

The outlined tendency of the cost increase of fuel and energy resources finds the direct relation to change the level of expenses for the manufacture of potassium fertilizers. Manufacture of potassium fertilizers is characterized by a high consumption level of fuel and energy resources - level FER in the manufacture cost price makes to 22 percent.

On the basis of factors set above, the building of the first private mountain-concentrating industrial complex on a deposit of Leilimekan (Tyubegatan) is considered economically well-founded project, with high return of investments. For this purpose, the members of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan founded the Joint-stock company «Turkmen kaliy» which is conducting now preparation for development of the specified deposit of potassium salts.