Some see the Potash Khor and Biabank unit as a political plan with no economic justification, while around 5,000 tons of potash are needed annually by the country, and Ali Alavaini, head of the Potash Khor and Biabank Complex, believes that the chemical, military, pharmaceutical industries And Iran’s food needs this mineral. Therefore, in an interview with the CEO of Potash Factory, Economics News discussed the problems of the industry, its production status, its import and export. In an interview with The Economist, he says one of the problems at the plant is attracting investors because the potash production in the country has not been taken into account and the government has not invested in the necessary infrastructure.
What is the current state of production in the company, and given the slump in the world mining market, how many percent of your capacity have you worked in the past 9 months?
After launching the potash plant in April of this year and successfully launching operations in August of this year, to produce 3 tons of potash per month in the planning period and during the last 6 months according to the startup plan, about 5 tons of potash production and in the depot plant warehouse. Has been. Although we are in a state of market stagnation, but because the potash is already imported and the consumption of the country exceeds our production, these conditions have not had much impact on the business, and certainly with the lifting of sanctions and getting out of stagnation. Production capacity will increase by 5% next year.
This plan creates employment for some people directly and indirectly, and does the company earn enough money to pay for its employees?
Currently, 2 work directly and more than 2 work indirectly. Currently, the three factories that were originally designed and developed have reached the potash processing plant, which is at the beginning of the road, so the complex is still a design and one should not expect that its initial revenue would be sufficient for staff costs. Be it. Two other products, salt and dust control, snow and ice melt, are currently available, but only because of lack of infrastructure in the area, such as railways, and gas pipelines. If possible, these products will be marketed at minimal cost. The only problem with the complex is the failure to properly sell its potash production per month. It should be noted that the current costs of the complex will be met if 6 tonnes of potash are produced per month.
What is the country’s annual need for potash annually and in what industries is it used and what is its use?
Currently, about 2,000 tons of potash is needed per year, with 5% of the world’s potash being used for agricultural purposes and the other 2% consumed in the chemical, military, pharmaceutical, food, etc. industries. Potassium is an industrial name for potassium chloride compounds, such as potassium chloride, potassium sulfate, potassium nitrate, etc. Due to the high chlorine content of soil in most parts of the country, potassium chloride produced is converted to other potassium compounds including potassium sulfate.
Is a development plan considered? If so, how will its resources be funded?
Since the beginning of the project definition in the Country Management and Planning Organization, designs have been made for the construction of three factories, so far the only potash plant has been put into operation. Magnesium Hydroxide Plant Delayed Due to Input Feed From Potash Plant Wastewater It was postponed until the start up of Potash Plant, which is currently being investigated and attracted investor. One of the main reasons that the third plant is not industrial salt. There is no proper investor and infrastructure in the area. In addition to these two plants, two other projects have been approved by the Investment Committee of Iran Mines and Mineral Industries (Imidro) this year. The first is the Calcium Chloride Production Plan from the Solar Evaporative Pool Wastewater and the other Magnesium Chloride Production Plan from the plant’s effluent. Is. A call for identification of qualified contractors has also been prepared and one of the two plans will soon be announced.
The Potash Khor and Biabank plan is seen as a political project with no economic justification. To what extent is this true and is it profitable as an economic enterprise?
The project was not economical at the start of the project, for two main reasons. One low grade potash compared to other mines in operation around the world and another reason for the price of compass that was around $ 2 per tonne in those years (though it had reached $ 8 per tonne) but At present, the world potash price is $ 5 per tonne, which justifies the low grade potash in the mine, so it is now economically feasible to operate the mine. Initial studies and design are based on the production of three products, potassium, salt and magnesium hydroxide, one of which has so far been exploited. On the other hand, given the global cost of potash, with the capacity of the potash plant reaching capacity and even without the launch of two more plants, the plan is economically justified, though by completing the entire project, namely construction of two more plants and processing of other minerals in the potash. Not only the scheme will be economical, but it will also have significant benefits. Of course, now that the private sector investment policy is in the projects, the government must consider appropriate infrastructure. One of the main reasons for the lack of investor attraction and sales of industrial salt product is the lack of rail in the region. The availability of other infrastructures, including gas, water and electricity, will help launch new projects and transform the region into an industrial hub that will produce evaporative minerals and sub-industries. It is also worth noting that there are about 4 large and small playa in Iran, which can be used as a pilot for saltwater reservoirs in the country and the experience gained in this project is the path of mines and other factories. Be it. The complex is currently capable of engineering and building new salt factories in the country.
Which countries are the largest potash producers in the Middle East and in the world, and what is Iran’s position in the world potash production?
Khorobiabank Potash Complex is the first and only potash producer in the country. In the Middle East, the occupied Jordan and Palestine producing potash are among the major potash producing countries in the world, producing a total of 1.2 million tonnes per year. Canada is the top producer of potash in the world, with 2.6 million tonnes, Russia with 1.2 million tonnes and Belarus with 2 million tonnes. It is really unfortunate that in Iran, with its rich potash reserves, there is only one production unit with a low capacity.
What other byproducts are produced in the company besides potash and what are their uses?
Products currently available on the market include solid dust and snow control and ice melting solution. Industrial salt with a purity of between 2% and 3% for its petrochemical and hydrate uses. Enriched salt, a combination of salts and other compounds used to melt snow and ice on passages. However, downstream salt industries such as caustic soda and sodium carbonate, downstream potash industries, including potash with a purity of 0.8% for edible and medical uses, other potassium-containing compounds including potassium sulfate, magnesium compounds such as oxide, hydroxide and chloride As well as calcium chloride and other compounds present in brine are part of the future production plan. In addition, the potassium complex was not unaware of the downstream potash industries (eg conversion of potassium chloride to potassium sulfate). In addition to building a pilot plant with a production capacity of 5 tonnes of potassium sulfate per year, it is planning to develop other downstream industries from Also included is the production of potash with laboratory and oral grades. Processing of other compounds available in the country, which are currently in the development plans of Calcium Chloride, Magnesium Oxide and Magnesium Chloride, are underway.
What are the most important issues currently facing the potash production in Iran?
Numerous areas that are prone to mining and potash production Identify that most of the mines are in areas where there is no infrastructure needed for investment, access roads, water, electricity, gas, rail, telecommunications, etc. The job is left to the private investor. So in addition to one of the problems, investor attraction, the main reason that potash production has not been addressed in the country has been the lack of government investment to build the necessary infrastructure.
What is the state of export and import of potash to the country and what are the countries of origin and destination?
Most of the potash comes from Russia, Belarus and Uzbekistan, and exports were negligible because of lack of domestic production. In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that the exploration operations in the Middle Playa Khor and Biabank area are on the complex agenda this year and the necessary infrastructure for exploration in the area has been provided with the assistance and cooperation of Iran Mining Company. This year, the operation of the plant for the production of calcium chloride and magnesium hydroxide production will fall from the effluent of the solar evaporation pools and the discovery of the middle playa, and geotourism operations will begin in the area.
Source of Economics News