Phosphate fertilizer industry shifts towards ecological development 07-12-2021

Summary: The phosphate fertiliser industry will continue to move towards an ecological one in the future in the direction of energy conservation, emission reduction, and improvement of comprehensive resource utilisation.

In 2021, China's phosphate fertiliser industry has maintained an upward trend. In Q1 2021, the operating rates of major phosphate fertiliser and compound fertiliser manufacturers reached a historical peak of around 80%; in Q2, exports of monoammonium phosphate (MAP) and diammonium phosphate (DAP) improved and prices remained at high levels under weakened domestic demand. In Q3, MAP and DAP prices are likely to keep at high levels within 2021 or in the long run as domestic fertiliser demand will recover.

Zhou Zhuye, President of China Phosphate Fertiliser Industry Association (CPFIA), said that China's phosphate fertiliser industry has continued improving at present; however, low-carbon and environmental policies have brought severe challenges to the development of the industry, which impels the industry to transform and upgrade.

In 2021, the introduction of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality, the implementation of the Yangtze River Protection Law and the development and changes of farming structure have also caused challenges to domestic phosphate fertiliser industry. The phosphate fertiliser industry will continue to move towards ecological development in the future in the direction of energy conservation, emission reduction, and improvement of comprehensive resource utilisation.

Tang Jianwei, Executive Dean of School of Ecology and Environment, ZhengZhou University believed that the rapid growth of China's phosphate fertiliser industry mainly relies on the traditional development model of increasing factor input, consuming natural resources, and pursuing quantitative expansion. Constrained by resources, energy and ecological environment, the industry has encountered problems like declining economic benefits, insufficient innovation, and R&D reaching a plateau, which are also common problems faced by present traditional industries. Currently, the phosphate fertiliser industry mainly faces problems such as the exacerbating phosphorus resource depletion, shortage of potassium and sulphur resources, emission of tailings and phosphorus gypsum, overcapacity and low operating rates of manufacturers. Tang suggested that the phosphate fertiliser industry should transform to high-quality ecological development and realise new and old kinetic energy conversion; the transformation and upgrading to an ecological industry is the only way to improve the quality and efficiency of the resource processing-based traditional industry.

Regarding environmental management related to "3-Phospho" sectors (phosphorus mines, phosphorus chemicals and phosphorus gypsum storages), Ran Lijun, director of the Petrochemical Department of the Environmental Engineering Assessment Centre of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, stated that the Yangtze River Protection Law proposes total phosphorus control as the focus and characteristics of the control of the Yangtze River basin. For the main branches of the Yangtze River where the production of phosphate ore and phosphate fertilisers is concentrated, relevant provinces should formulate stricter requirements for total phosphorus emission control to effectively control the total amount of total phosphorus emissions. Enterprises of phosphate ore mining and processing, phosphate fertiliser and pesticide manufacturing and pharmaceutical enterprises should also take effective measures to control the concentration and total discharge of phosphorus in accordance with the requirements of pollutant discharge permits; these enterprises should conduct total phosphorus testing at sewage outlets and surrounding environment and disclose monitoring information in accordance with the law.

Ran Lijun added that next, relevant local ecological and environmental departments will conduct targeted look-back actions on key 3-Phospho enterprises based on the 2019–2020 Action Plan. Meanwhile, they will also pay close attention to the quality and implementation rate of pollution permits and strengthen "one certificate" law enforcement supervision of stationary pollution sources.


You can find out more information at CCM Phosphorus China Monthly Report.

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