CENTREX has loaded its first cargo of crushed phosphate rock bound for the Asian market in what is believed to be a first for an Australian company.
The 15,000-tonne shipment has left Townsville and is on its way to Newcastle to take on additional tonnage for a separate exporter before heading to South Korea.
In February, Centrex signed a binding marketing services agreement with Samsung C&T for the sale of phosphate rock from its Ardmore Phosphate Rock Mine south of Mt Isa in north-west Queensland.
The agreement has appointed Samsung C&T as sole and exclusive agent for sales into the markets of South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, India, Mexico and Taiwan, and represents 20 percent of total production at Ardmore.
Centrex managing director Robert Mencel said the shipment to Asia is remarkable under the circumstances, with China being the world’s biggest producer and consumer of phosphate, and Vietnam being a major exporter, but with exports currently prohibited.
“We have the utmost confidence that this shipment will open doors for us in the Asian market on account of the quality of the product,” Mr Mencel said.
“Not only is it a very high grade of phosphate rock but it also very low in cadmium, a toxic chemical which can be concentrated in crops and cause health problems.”
Australia and New Zealand jointly import around 1 million tonnes of high-grade phosphate rock each year, mainly from Africa.
Centrex exported two large shipments of phosphate rock to New Zealand last year to herald the arrival of Australia’s newest export industry.
It has now shipped a total of 60,178t of phosphate rock to clients in Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.
Centrex recently signed an exclusive transport and logistics services agreement with Aurizon, Australia’s largest rail-freight operator, for the provision of transport, storage and stevedoring services for Ardmore’s phosphate rock product.
This includes provision of containers, container loading, and trucking using triple road trains to Mt Isa, rail to Townsville, and stevedoring services to transport and load the rock phosphate to a bulk vessel using a rotainer crane.
Agriflex is a subsidiary of Centrex, and its Ardmore Phosphate Rock Project is now fully operational.
The Ardmore demonstration plant has the capacity to produce 240,000t of product per annum and is a precursor to a larger 800,000t-per-annum plant.
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