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$1.2 Billion Fertilizer Plant May be Sited in Midwest

$1.2 Billion Fertilizer Plant May be Sited in Midwest

Companies scramble to invest in new nitrogen, potash and phosphate facilities.

Our April issue details a laundry list of new fertilizer plants that may be opening or retooled for North America (p. 16). Here's another project to add to that list. Officials in Illinois and Iowa confirmed they are trying to lure a $1.2 billion world scale ammonia and urea plant, dubbed Project Cronus, to the Midwest.

SPREADING POWER: The fertilizer industry is expanding, including new investments in plant and capacity.

Little is known about the entity behind Project Cronus, as officials in both states noted they were bound by confidentiality agreements. Cronus Chemicals, LLC was incorporated in the state of Delaware in November 2012.The two potential sites being considered are Mitchell County, Iowa and Tuscola, Ill. Site selection is expected to be completed within the next few months, reports Rod Wells, Plant Food Division Manager at Growmark.

This will be the second project that both Iowa and Illinois have competed for to bring to their states. Wever, Iowa was chosen as the site for an ammonia project sponsored by Egyptian company Orascom Construction Industries in early fall 2012. At the time, heated rhetoric was exchanged by governors of both states as they competed for the project. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is now taking heat for overstepping the level of incentives offered to bring Orascom to Iowa.

Phosphate and potash producer The Mosaic Co., announced in mid-March that it had entered into an agreement with Ma'aden and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation to develop phosphate production facilities in Saudi Arabia. The $7 billion project is scheduled to start up in 2016 and will produce phosphate fertilizers, animal feed, food-grade purified phosphoric acid, and sodium tripolyphosphate for global distribution.

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan reports that its board has approved a multi-million dollar project for upgrades at it nitrogen facility in Lima, Ohio. Ammonia and urea production will be increased by 88,000 and 80,000 tons per year, respectively. Startup is scheduled for late 2015. The additional ammonia will be used for upgrading to urea while some will be shipped to PotashCorp's phosphate production facility in Aurora, North Carolina. The new production will help allay concerns with Trinidad production, where gas curtailments have reduced productive capacity there since 2010.

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