Phosphate discover in Jordan dates back to 1908, at the same time as the construction of the Hejaz railway in Russaifa and al-Hassa. The first investments in Jordanian phosphate mines were made in 1935, in Russaifa area, and in 1942, the Jordan Phosphate Mines Company was established, but with the start of the Arab-Israeli war, the company ceased operations in 1948. In 1949, the company re-established as limited shareholding and 4 years later in 1953, turned to a public shareholding company.
In 1962, Al-Hassa mine with a capacity of 0.5 million tons per year was opened. The Al-Abiad mine was opened in 1979 and the Eshidiya mine in 1988.
Jordan Phosphate Mines Company (JPM)
According to statistics, Jordan has the fifth largest phosphate mines in the world, with an estimated 3.7 billion tons of phosphate. Of this reserve, 1.250 million tons (Eshidiyah, Al-Hassa, Wadi Al-Abiad, Russifa) are owned and operated by the JPM Company, which by an annual production of 9 million tons (according to the company’s website acclaim) becomes the second largest exporter and 6th largest phosphate producer in the world. The company’s current capital is 82.5 million Jordanian dinars (116.5 M$).
In addition to the mines, JPM has a large phosphate fertilizer complex in Aqaba and a R&D center in Russaifa. The company has also built a dedicated wharf in Aqaba, Jordan, to export phosphate.
The mine is located 125 km northeast of Aqaba and 50 km southeast of Ma’an city. The nominal production capacity of this mine is 5 million tons per year and it consists of several layers.
In layer A0, the ratio of phosphate (50-40% (Tris Calcium Phosphate) (TCP)) and the subsequent layers are layers A1, A2, A3, which have average phosphate ratio 50%, 69% 40% TCP, respectively.
Eshidiya mine located in a area estimated as 315 square kilometers and the quality of its minerals is as follows:
Layer A1: The Ore of this layer needs no more than washing and upgrading operations
Layer A2: This layer contains high quality phosphate of tri-calcium phosphate (TCP), so that it does not require any operation other than sieving.
Layer A3: Which contains sandy phosphate and phosphate sand where the soft and fine phosphate are mined and nodule remain. These materials are exposed to washing and flotation.
Layer A0: Section S1 needs washing and enrichment. S2, which is composed mostly of Ca3 (PO4) 2, only needs to be sieved.
The mine was established in 1962 with a production capacity of 0.5 million tons per year. The mine is located 43 km east of Jordan, and two types of phosphate are produced from this mine.
1. Regular which contains (70/72, 68/70, 67.65%) tri-calcium phosphate (Ca3 (PO4) 2). This type of production material only washed, dried and prepared for export.
2. The second type contains (66.68%) of Ca3 (PO4) 2 which is sent for upgrading through washing to raise the ratio of this substance to (73.75%).
Wadi Al-Abiad Mine
Wadi Al-Abiad mine located 115 km south of the Jordanian capital and 2 km from the desert highway in Karak province. The mine started operating in 1979-1978. Phosphate Ore of AL-Abiad is available in form of granules that belong to the Cretaceous period which is an extension of Al-Hassa phosphate.
The raw material in this mine is available in two geological layers:
The top layer with thickness between 4 to 5.5 meters
And the bottom, which is between 1 to 9 meters thick.
Most of the raw materials of Wadi al-Abiad are in the upper layer of geology, and its exploitation began in the early 1960s by an American company, Parsons.
The mine is the oldest one of JPM Company and is located 12 km northeast of the Jordanian capital amman. Work on the mine began in 1953, but was halted in 1985 due to environmental concerns.
In the following tables you can get some important data about phosphate and fertilizer production and sales from Jordanian mines:
JPM Company has three ports, two of which are used for phosphate exports and one for the export of phosphate fertilizers and the import of raw materials. All three are located in Aqaba on the Red Sea coast, with a loading and unloading capacity of 18 million tons.
The new phosphate port is located on the south coast of Aqaba. The construction of this port will cost $ 240 million. The port consists of a 200 m berth to allow a safe docking for ships of different sizes (from 5,000 tons to 100,000 tons). The load capacity of this port is 2200 tons per hour and it is connected to phosphate stores by 1600 meters long pipes. The port’s warehouses can store up to 240,000 tons of phosphate products.
This port is 15 km away from the main port and its area is about 138,500 square meters.
The complex is one of the largest phosphate fertilizer complexes in the region, located on the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba, 18 km from the city and near the Saudi Arabia border.
This complex consists of two sections for fertilizer production in which ammonium diphosphate with a nominal production capacity of 1500 tons per day is produced in each of these sections (equivalent to 3000 tons in total). This fertilizer contains 18% ammonia and 46% P2O5. Ammonia enters Aqaba by ship from several Arab and non-Arab countries.
In addition to fertilizer production sections, this industrial complex has a section for diluted phosphoric acid production with 28% P2O5. The capacity of this unit is 900-1310 tons per day.
In addition, 98.5% sulfuric acid is produced in the industrial complex with a nominal capacity of 5,000 tons per day in two separate units. Sulfur enters Jordan from neighboring Arab countries such as Iraq and Saudi Arabia or foreign countries such as Russia.
It also has a unit for the production of AlF3 aluminum fluoride. This unit was developed for usage of H2SiF6 Hexafluorosilicic acid, which is dangerous for the environment. The nominal capacity of this unit is 20,000 tons per year.
According to the company’s management reports, the target markets and their share of Jordanian exports are as follows:
According to the table above, India and Indonesia are the main importers of Jordanian phosphate products.