Tunisia has long played the role of one of the world’s main producers and exporters of phosphate raw materials, thanks to its vast reserves. Phosphate mining is currently entirely managed by Compagnie des Phosphates de Gafsa (CPG), and phosphoric acid units are directly or indirectly managed by Groupe Chimique Tunisien (GCT), formally a subsidiary of CPG.
Tunisian output used to average around 8 million tonnes rock/year before the Jasmine Revolution of 2010, however since then a continuous streak of social unrest and strike action has capped output to less than 4 million tonnes – and bottoming at 2.5 million tonnes in 2011. Attempts to ramp production back up to previous levels have so far had only limited effect, mostly due to the continuation of strikes along the country’s rail routes connecting inland mines to phosphoric acid units located along the Tunisian coastline.
Bottlenecks on phosphate rock deliveries to phosphoric acid plants have affected GCT’s phosphoric acid merchant availability, includingexports to India via the TIFERT joint-venture plant (in partnership with GSFC and CIL in India), exports to various Mediterranean countries (e.g. Italy, Algeria, France, Turkey) or domestic sales to the country’s feed and industrial phosphate producers. It wasn’t until 2016 that GCT managed to re-gain some market share in some of these markets – our expectation is for exports to continue increasing in the short-term.
Rock exports, once significant, now only consist of small tonnage sold as DAR, primarily to the United Kingdom. Our base-case scenario does not assume meaningful increases in net export availability for Tunisian rock.
Download the sample page below to see supporting production and export data.