Yara today officially opened the plant, marking “an exciting development in the company’s growth strategy and investment in Australia,” according to Svein Tore Holsether.
The location is remote, in the desert-like landscape of Western Australia, a short 2 hour flight north-east of Perth. This is where Yara runs one of its largest ammonia plants, and more is coming. In addition to producing ammonia which is the key building block for fertilizers, Yara produces technical ammonium nitrate (TAN).
Ammonium nitrate is the main component of explosives used in the mining, quarrying and construction industries. The plant is currently in the commissioning phase and is expected to be operational by the end of 2016. Destined to serve local iron ore business with key ingredients for mining activities, the entire production capacity will be used in the Pilbara region.
The next generation of downstream processing has arrived in the resource rich Pilbara region. The plant, developed in joint venture by Yara International ASA and Orica Limited, will have capacity to produce 330,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate (AN) per annum.
The facility was opened today by the Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett at a ceremony marking the completion of the plant construction phase. The plant is fully integrated with the neighbouring Yara Pilbara Fertilisers ammonia plant, which exports 800,000 tonnes of ammonia per annum to Yara plants or world commodity markets.
Yara International President and CEO Svein Tore Holsether said the completion of the world-scale plant was an exciting development in the company’s growth strategy and investment in Australia.
“Yara’s decision to go further downstream into AN production in the Pilbara reflects the long term value we see for our business in Australia and also the proximity of both Yara Pilbara operations to important Asia Pacific markets,” Mr Holsether said.
“We are using Western Australian gas to first create a highly valued product, ammonia, and then undertake further processing to deliver a crucial material for the mining and civil works sector,” Mr Holsether said.
As part of the joint venture Yara will operate the plant and Orica will manage sales and distribution of the product.
The Yara Pilbara Nitrates plant is the first in the world to be built using modularized construction, with key segments of the facility built offshore and shipped to site.
At its peak more than 500 workers were required on site to complete the project. The facility will have 70 operational employees and all will live with their families in the nearby community of Karratha.
The Pilbara facility utilizes the latest technology and design to minimise its environmental footprint, while production close to where the product will be used reduces the need for transportation, resulting in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.