Tunisian phosphate exports up despite worldwide recession
Tunisia’s state-owned phosphate producer, Compagnie des Phosphates de Gafsa (CPG), recently announced that its output had totaled 8.3 million tons in 2000, having experienced a production growth of 300,000 tons per annum in recent years, reported Al-Hayat.
Company sources said that phosphate production maintained past years’ growth levels in 2000, while exports surpassed those of previous years despite the prevailing worldwide recession.
Company management expects CPG’s exports to further rise in coming years, based on the exploration of new phosphate reserves in southern Tunisia. CPG also expects to strengthen its position in international phosphate markets, following the shutdown of several American phosphate mines last year.
Tunisia is the world’s fifth largest phosphate producer and fourth largest phosphate exporter, exporting natural phosphate and its by-products to 50 countries worldwide. Phosphate rock output with its derivative products, and base-metal mining are the most important segments of the Tunisian non-energy mineral industry.
Operating under its current name since 1975, CPG entirely controls and operates the country’s phosphate rock extraction and marketing. While in previous years Tunisia used to export all of its phosphate output, the government decided to enter phosphoric acid and mineral fertilizers production in the 1990’s and now processes more than 85 percent of its phosphate production. Le Groupe Chimique Tunisien (GCT) controls phosphate processing.
In 1994, The Tunisian government merged the chairmanship of CPG and GCT, and in 1996 the government ordered a single common commercial direction. CPG, which is the largest company in Tunisia, owns four industrial sites and operates seven open cast quarries and one underground mine, with a total production capacity of 12 million tons per annum.
Tunisia's annual production of merchant phosphate in 1999 reached eight millions tons, up from 7.2 million tons in 1997, according to CPG figures. Of the 1997 total output, phosphate sales on international markets reached to 1.2 million tons, an increase of three percent compared to export volume in 1996. — (menareport.com)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)