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 required for photosynthesis and crop growth. At Ma’aden, we mine phosphate rock and process it into phosphate products, including diammonium phosphate (DAP) and monoammonium phosphate (MAP), the most widely used phosphate fertilizers in modern agriculture.
Our vision is to be among the leading players in the global phosphate trade. As populations grow, demand for protein-rich food increases while arable land per capita declines. Fertilizers – including phosphate fertilizers – are needed more and more. In all, 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 sulphur 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 revolves around three mega projects:
Ma’aden Phosphate Company (MPC)
MPC is a joint venture with Saudi Basic Industries Corporation and represents a USD 5.6 billion (nearly SAR 21 billion) investment, operating 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 per year of ore, and the beneficiation facilities up to 5 million tonnes 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, sulphuric acid, ammonia, DAP granulation and desalination plants. At full capacity, MPC can produce 3 million tonnes of DAP annually. Most of our DAP production is sold to international markets.
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.
Total production capacity is close to 16 million tonnes per year including 3 million tonnes of finished products (such as DAP, MAP and NP /NP K fertilizers), as well as 440,000 tonnes of downstream products (such as purified phosphoric acid used in food industries, sodium tripolyphosphate used in detergents, and dicalcium phosphate and monocalcium phosphate used to produce animal feed).
Complementary plants to produce ammonia and phosphate-based fertilizers were built near the port facilities at Ras Al Khair; the twin sites are linked by the North-South Railway. When the project reached commercial production 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.
In late 2016, Ma’aden announced it was launching a feasibility study to define a third world class phosphate fertiliser project to be based in the Wa’ad Al Shamal area. This latest project will be phased-in by 2024 and timed to best serve growing global fertiliser demand. The project is likely to be a similar scope to Wa’ad Al Shamal in terms of capacity.