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Partners to build novel phosphogypsum recycling plant

Partners to build novel phosphogypsum recycling plant
Signing of the Master Aggreement with Dr Hannes Storch (left), VP Metals and Chemical Processing, Metso; Piia Karhu, President Metals, Metso; Robert Wilt, CEO, Ma’aden; Hassan Al-Ali, EVP, Phosphate Ma’aden; Lucretia Löscher, COO, thyssenkrupp Uhde; and Michael Petzinna, Head of Coke Plant & Inorganic Acids thyssenkrupp Uhde (photo courtesy thyssenkrupp Uhde).

The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden), the largest multi-commodity firm in the Middle East, has signed a frame agreement with Germany-headed global chemical plant full-service provider thyssenkrupp Uhde and Finland-headed global aggregates, minerals, and metals process technology supplier Metso Oyj for the development, engineering and licensing of a calcination plant for phosphogypsum processing at Ras Al Khair, Saudi Arabia.

Operating 17 mines and sites for phosphate, aluminum, gold, copper, and new minerals, Ma’aden is the largest multi-commodity mining and metals company in the Middle East and among the fastest-growing mining companies in the world.

Currently, significant amounts of phosphogypsum are produced as a by-product of phosphoric acid production, which is essential for producing phosphate fertilizers.

The options for using phosphogypsum directly are very limited due to impurities and the general properties of this material.

The purpose of the proposed plant will be to recycle phosphogypsum and enable the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The joint research and development will be carried out together with thyssenkrupp Polysius and Metso Outotec.

We look forward to working with our partners to develop this unique solution, utilizing our new patented technology to reduce carbon emissions and recycle phosphogypsum into a useful resource. With this ambitious project, we will contribute significantly to the Saudi Green Initiative and create a lasting impact in line with our Kingdom’s Vision 2030, said Hassan Al-Ali, EVP at Ma’aden Phosphate.

Novel concept

Ma’aden’s patented concept will allow the company to use new technology to reduce carbon emissions and recycle phosphogypsum into a useful resource. Metso’s role in this development is to provide technology know-how for this unique process.

We’re excited to see this unique project moving forward. The new concept for phosphogypsum processing will be a major step forward in the fertilizer industry, contributing to sustainability targets, such as waste recovery and limiting global warming. Metso will contribute to the project with our extensive expertise and experience in the field of fluid bed, gas cleaning, and sulfuric acid solutions, comments Hannes Storch, VP for Metals and Chemicals Processing at Metso.

The innovative phosphogypsum treatment process will have three major benefits.

First, it converts phosphogypsum into quicklime (calcium oxide, CaO). By using alternative fuels such as hydrogen or sulfur, this calcination step is low in CO2 emissions.

Additional know-how for this process is provided by thyssenkrupp Polysius, a full range-supplier of the cement and lime industry.

We are honored to be chosen by our esteemed customer to provide our technology and expertise. We are providing an innovative process to turn the phosphate industry into a circular economy. This project will be another important milestone for thyssenkrupp Uhde in enabling the green transformation of our customers, said Lucretia Löscher, COO thyssenkrupp Uhde.

Secondly, it enables the recovery of sulphuric acid, which can be recycled and reused as feedstock for phosphoric acid production.

And thirdly, the quicklime binds CO2 through a carbonization process to form limestone. The limestone can then be used, for example, in the construction industry or for cement production.

This pioneering patent, combined with our new CO2-capturing complex, underscores Ma’aden’s commitment to sustainability. We look forward to working with Metso and thyssenkrupp Uhde to develop this important project that will truly change and reduce the carbon footprint of our phosphate business. It puts us at the forefront of innovation, turning what was once leftover material into a valuable resource, while significantly reducing CO2 emissions. It’s a giant leap towards a sustainable future, ended Hasan Al-Ali,

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