Africa Mining: Algeria Signs $6 Billion Phosphate Expansion Deal

Algeria has entered into a $6 billion phosphate JV deal with a Chinese firm to build a phosphate plant in Tebessa province. The JV deal is between Algeria’s state-run firm Sonatrach, Algerian firms Manal and Asmidal and Chinese state-owned consortium CITIC Group Corp.

“We are witnessing the biggest economic project that Algeria has seen in more than a decade,” Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said at the signing ceremony in Ouglat-Ahmed.

“The plant will come online in 2022, and it will create 3,000 jobs,” Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, CEO of state energy firm Sonatrach, said.

The project plans to expand the output of the Bled El-Hadba phosphate mine in the eastern region of Tebessa from 1 million tons annually to 10 million tons.

Sonatrach will hold a 51% share of the project while the Chinese partners have a 49% stake.

“The embedded project aims at greatly upgrading the valorization of the phosphate as a natural resource through the production of fertilizers, ammonia and several other by-products,” said Industry Minister Yousef Yousfi. He added that he expected a 4 million-ton output of fertilizer and a 1.2 million-ton output of ammonia per year.

“If the project succeeds in controlling the costs and deadlines as well as quality, it will allow Algeria to have a genuine mining industry, which will be expanded gradually,” said Ould Kaddour, who is spearheading the project.

Ouyahia said the government was eyeing similar projects to tap the country’s phosphate potential. It holds the third largest phosphate reserves in the world; neighboring Morocco is the world’s largest holder of the resource.

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