New ammonium nitrate manufacturing plant for mining

Chemical manufacturer and supplier Incitec Pivot is currently looking into plans to construct a new ammonium nitrate manufacturing plant on the site of its fertiliser facility on Kooragang Island in Newcastle, NSW.

Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound used in explosives and fertilisers. According to the company, the plant will be a “world-scale, state-of-the-art” manufacturing plant.

In statement released to the ASX on Friday, Incitec Pivot said it will carry out a feasibility study into the construction of the new plant, which expected to be completed in Q4 of 2012 based on the calendar year.

Should construction of the new plant go ahead; the plant will be geared towards producing ammonium nitrate for the mining industry in NSW, particularly in the Hunter Valley, for export, and urea ammonium nitrate for agricultural use.

The company will need to meet its financial requirements and gain regulatory approvals, as well as achieve local and broader communities support before developments of the plant can go ahead.

Incitec Pivot produces and supplies explosives, fertilisers and industrial chemicals to the Australian and overseas markets. The company owns and operates 20 plants in the US, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey, and has joint venture operations in South Africa, Malaysia, China and Australia

In Australia, the company’s largest fertiliser plant is located at Phosphate Hill, Queensland. The Phosphate Hill plant is geared towards open-cut mining used to extract phosphate rock. The rock is combined with sulphuric acid from the company’s Mount Isa plant to produce ammonium phosphate fertilizers.

 The company also produces ammonia from natural gas and air to make other fertilisers, including urea, as well as superphosphate, the most commonly used fertiliser for improving pastures.

Incitec Pivot has committed almost A$1 billion to build a major ammonium nitrate plant at Moranbah in Central Queensland as part of its plan to expand its manufacture of explosives in Australia.

When completed, the Moranbah plant will also produce ammonium nitrate for the mining industry.

 Image: Incitec Pivot