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Tunisia doubles phosphate output, produces 1.3 million tonnes in Q1 2022

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In the midst of political uncertainty in Tunisia, the North African country has managed to double the production of phosphate to1.3 million tonnes in the first quarter of 2022.

A senior official in government-owned Gafsa Phosphate told a journalist on Sunday that the new feat doubles what the country achieved during this same period last year.

Phosphate is the natural source of phosphorous, an element that provides a quarter of all the nutrients that plants need for their growth and development. Phosphorous is used in many products and is an essential ingredient in all fertilizers.

According to Statista, “in 2019, the total production of phosphates in Tunisia exceeded 1.1 million metric tons. This represented a peak in the period under review. The country’s phosphate production increased compared to the previous year when it stood at around 813 thousand metric tons.”

Reuters reports that Tunisia was once one of the world’s largest producers of phosphate minerals, which are used to make fertilizers, but its market share fell after the 2011 revolution that eventually spread across the Arab region. Raising the production and export of phosphate would provide a valuable boost to Tunisia, which is suffering a financial crisis and is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Tunisia continues efforts to take back its position as a leading exporter of phosphate to take advantage of a sharp increase in fertilizer prices due to the war in Ukraine. Gasfa Phosphate’s Production Manager, Rafaa Nssib revealed that the country “aims to produce 5.5 million tonnes of phosphate this year compared to 3.7 million tonnes last year”

Recall that one of the largest fertilizer plants in the world was recently launched in Nigeria. With Tunisia’s progress in the production of phosphate which is a key ingredient for fertilizer production, Africa might be set to rule the world in that space. Hopefully so.

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Ivory Coast aims regional shipping hub, completes $953 million container terminal

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West African country, Ivory Coast is making waves at becoming a regional shipping hub as it has completed construction of a second container terminal at its main port in Abidjan.

The project, financed by China’s Eximbank by 85% and 15% by the Ivorian state costs about 596 billion CFA francs ($953 million).

The new container terminal, called Cote d’Ivoire Terminal (CIT), started operations on Nov. 1 but was officially unveiled at a press conference on Friday. It is able to receive large ships from Asia, Europe, and America that previously had to land goods in South Africa, transferring them to smaller ships to reach West Africa.

The technical director of the terminal Andre N’Doli, remarked “we are no longer a second port. We are becoming a hub,”

“In addition to national traffic, we will handle traffic from other ports that cannot accommodate large vessels,” he told reporters.

According to official data, there has been growth in recent years in the country’s maritime sector. Ivory Coast shipped goods worth USD 12,717 million in 2019, an -8.5% dip as compared to the previous year.

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Ghana makes strong push to save currency, Cedi, orders mining companies to sell 20% stock

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As part of its many initiatives to out of its current economic challenge, Ghana has ordered all large-scale mining companies to sell 20% of their entire stock.

The gold rich country wants the companies to pay the Bank of Ghana with refined gold at their refineries from Jan. 1, 2023.

According to Vice-President, Mahamudu Bawumia said in a social media post on Friday, the government is planning a new policy where gold rather than U.S. dollar reserves will be used to buy oil products.

The move is meant to tackle dwindling foreign currency reserves coupled with the demand for dollars by oil importers, which is weakening the local cedi and increasing living costs.

“The Bank of Ghana and the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) will coordinate with the large-scale mining companies to ensure compliance with this directive,” the vice-president said.

“The gold to be purchased by the Bank of Ghana and the PMMC will be in cedis at spot price with no discounts,” he added.

The VP further revealed that community mining schemes and licensed small-scale miners will also have to sell gold to the government.

Statista reports that gold reserves in Ghana stood at a volume of 8.74 metric tons from the first quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of 2021.

Moreover, gold mine production in the country reached a volume of 150 metric tons in 2020, an increase compared to the previous year. Ghana did not suspend its production of gold in 2020 amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Ghana hinted at the Gold for payment policy in May but the continued fall to a point of being rated worst in the world demands pragmatic measures. Hopefully, the gold-for-pay policy will bring some solace.

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