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IPL to close Portland, Australia, SSP plant, Argus Media reports

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Fertilizer,

Argus Media is reporting that Australia-based fertilizer producer Incitec Pivot (IPL) will close its Portland, Victoria, single super phosphate (SSP) plant in May.

Operations will be consolidated to the Geelong, Victoria SSP facility, 300 km east, however, the Portland distribution centre will operate as usual.

Portland produces 180 000 tpy of SSP at capacity, while Geelong's output can hit up to 350 000 tpy. A strategic review was started in 2014 to optimise the SSP assets, with the fertilizer facing competitively priced imports and overcapacity.

The demand for sulphuric acid and phosphate rock imported to Portland and Geelong is set to decline as a result of the Portland closure. Phosphate rock is imported from international suppliers, while sulphuric acid is sourced domestically from mining and metals firm Nyrstar's zinc smelter in Tasmania.

Dry weather across cropping regions in eastern Australia cut IPL's fertilizer sales in the first half of the 2019 financial year, ending 30 September, by roughly 200 000 t from the same period a year earlier.

IPL does not expect to recover the volumes in the second half, with lower sales to have a negative impact of around AUS$20mn (US$14mn) for first-half financial year 2019 earnings before interest and tax (Ebit).

the closure of a flood-damaged rail line, which connects the plant to the Townsville port has continued to affect production and distribution from the Phosphate Hill, Queensland, plant.

The rail line has partially re-opened between Richmond and Townsville and, despite some alternative logistic arrangements, but disruption will have a negative impact of around AUS$60 million (US$42mn) for first half Ebit, and around AUS$100mn (US$71mn) on full year results.

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