Thursday, 5 March 2009

Mining firm Intex plans to put up Philippines' biggest fertilizer plant

Manila Bulletin

Norway-based Intex Resources Phils., Inc. (IRP) plans to produce ammonium fertilizer totalling to 200,000 metric tons (MT) yearly as a by-product in its nickel production.

IRP will run Philippines biggest fertilizer plant with the redesign of its nickel plant.

The company will help displace Philippines fertilizer import which from January to November 2008 reached to $ 524.02 million. Of this import, $ 182.1 million consisted of urea fertilizer. The greater bulk of $ 341 million was non-urea fertilizer which IRP’s ammonium fertilizer will help substitute.

"The project has been reconfigured to become not only the Philippines largest and most modern nickel plant with a target production of 40,000 tons per annum of nickel metal but also its largest fertilizer plant," said Lawyer Leo Cleto Gamolo, IRP president, in a statement.

On top of the ammonium sulphate that it will produce, the Mindoro plant will have another by-product, cobalt compounds. This will be in the form of sulphates, carbonates, hydroxides, and oxides.

Cobalt compounds are used for consumer applications particularly for the production of rechargeable batteries used for cellular phones. Another consumer-oriented application of cobalt compounds is for dietary supplement for livestock.

The company’s technologies will be environment-friendly.

"Even better is the fact that we will be mostly utilizing carbon-free energy in producing nickel and by products such as fertilizer and cobalt compounds. The high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) technology for our nickel processing plant will generate its own power in an environment-friendly manner. We will not be using fossil fuels nor will we be emitting carbon dioxide greenhouse gases," said Gamolo.

Rather than depending on Mindoro’s electricity grid, the nickel plant will generate more power totaling to around 50 megawatts (MW) which will further increase to 80 MW.

"The excess can be passed on Mindoro’s power grid," he said.

The Mindoro nickel plant, the biggest project in the Philippines of Intex Resources ASA of Norway, is estimated to require $ 2 billion in investment. Other partners in the project are the Aglubang Mining Corporation and Alag-ag Mining, Inc.

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