Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Algeria invests $7 billion to produce fertilizer from phosphate

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Wednesday, March 23rd 2022 à 11:03 | Read 1782 times

ALGERIA / CHINA. The Algerian groups Asmidal (a subsidiary of Sonatrach) and Manadjim El Djazair (Manal) signed, on Tuesday 22 March 2022 in Algiers, with the Chinese companies Wuhuan Engineering and Tian'an Chemical (see box below), a shareholder pact for the creation of a phosphate processing industry intended for the production of fertilisers in the eastern regions of Algeria.

The ambition is clear, as Toufik Hakkar, CEO of the Sonatrach group, explained to the APS agency (Algérie Presse Service): "This project will allow Algeria to be one of the main countries in the world for the export of fertilisers. Currently, Algeria produces nearly 3 million tonnes of urea. With this project, Algeria will produce more than 6 million tonnes of phosphate products annually."

A joint stock company under Algerian law bringing together the four partners was created and named Algerian-Chinese Fertilizers Company (ACFC). It is 56% owned by the two Algerian groups and 44% by the Chinese companies. The latter were selected after an open call for expression of interest launched by the Algerian government in May 2021. ACFC will carry out the first economic and technical studies.

Most of the fertiliser is destined for export

The four partners are grouped in the Algerian-Chinese Fertilizers Company -ACFC- (photo: Asmidal)
The four partners are grouped in the Algerian-Chinese Fertilizers Company -ACFC- (photo: Asmidal)
Called the Integrated Phosphate Project (PPI), this vast project will mobilise 7 billion dollars (6.36 billion euros) in the country's eastern wilayas (Tébessa, Souk Ahras, Skikda and Annaba). It will concern, more precisely, the development and exploitation of the phosphate deposit of Bled El Hadba, Djebel Onk (wilaya of Tébessa), the chemical transformation of phosphates in Oued Kébérit (wilaya of Souk Ahras), the manufacture of fertilisers in Hadjar Soud (wilaya of Skikda), as well as the dedicated port facilities at the level of the port of Annaba.

"This project uses the latest technologies for an important production of ecological components at a lower cost by valorising the whole of the rejects for the benefit of other sectors such as public works, construction and renewable energies", specifies Mohamed Tahar Heouaine, CEO of Asmidal group.

The PPI will be accompanied by related infrastructure projects with an estimated investment of between $5 and $6 billion (€4.55 to €5.45 billion).

It is the first of its kind in Algeria in the field of mining and fertiliser production. It is expected to create 12,000 jobs during the construction phase and eventually, in the operating phase, some 6,000 direct jobs and 24,000 indirect jobs.

Most of the fertiliser will be exported and only a small part will go to the local market.


Wuhuan Engineering is an international engineering company. Established in 1958, it has developed more than 2,000 engineering projects and over 100 turnkey projects in China and abroad. According to a press release from Asmidal, Wuhuan Engineering has "acquired rich experience in the technical design, procurement, construction and commissioning, as well as operation and maintenance of fertiliser plants, such as phosphate fertilisers and nitrogen fertilisers etc." The text states that the Chinese company "has a worldwide reference value in the field of phosphate, coal and natural gas chemical industry and is already considered the most experienced and competent Chinese company in this field".

Tian'an CHemical is a well-known nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer production company in China in the management of fertilizer production. It has an extensive sales network in the Chinese market, the United States, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, as well as more than 10,000 franchisees and distributors around the world.

On the Algerian side, Asmidal, the result of the reorganisation of the Sonatrach oil group in September 1984, has three subsidiaries and four holdings. It is specialised in the production, marketing and development of fertilisers, nutrients and phytosanitary products, in addition to the fields of industrial maintenance and training, as well as monitoring and conveying services.

Succeeding in February 2011 to the SOMINE Shareholders Management Company, Manal manages a portfolio of ten subsidiaries and holdings specialising in exploration, mining and quarrying, as well as processing, upgrading and trading of mining products.

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