Jordan - Mining



Jordan's leading industry and export commodity in 2002 was phosphate, ranking sixth in world output. Potash was the third top export commodity and fifth-leading industry, ranking seventh in world output. Fertilizers (made from phosphate rock and potash) ranked second among export commodities, and cement production ranked fourth among industries. Jordan also produced common clay, feldspar, natural gas and petroleum (for domestic consumption), gravel, gypsum, kaolin, lime, limestone, marble, crushed rock, salt, silica sand, steel, dimension stone, sulfuric acid, and zeolite tuff. In 2001, Jordan mined no metals, although it had deposits of copper, gold, iron, sulfur, titanium, and, in the Dead Sea, bromine and manganese. The output of mining and quarrying, which grew by 4.1% in 2001, accounted for 3% of GDP; construction accounted for 5.5%. GDP grew by4.2% in 2001, 4% in 2000, 3.1% in 1999, and 3% in 1998, and was expected to grow 5.1% in 2002 and 6% in 2003. Of Jordan's $1.91 billion in exports in 2001, stone, cement, fertilizers, phosphate rock, phosphoric acid, potash, and sulfuric acid accounted for $541 million. Exports of phosphate rock fell from $190 million in 1997 to $129.9 million in 2001; 60% of phosphate output was exported, and 61.5% of exports went to India. Potash exports earned $195.4 million, up from $139.2 million in 1997.

Phosphate mine output (gross weight) in 2001 was 5.8 million tons. The sole producer, the Jordan Phosphate Mines Company (JPMC), was to be privatized by 2002, and planned to increase production at the Shiyada Mine, the largest of JPMC's three mines, to 7.4 million tons per year in 2003, from a 2001 capacity of 3.3 million tons. Resources at the Rusaifa Mine have been depleted. Phosphoric fertilizers (443,000 tons in 2001, down from 613,821 in 1999) and phosphoric acid (149,000 tons in 2001) were produced from phosphate rock. Phosphate reserves totaled 1 billion tons.

Production of potash crude salts—from Dead Sea potassium— was a record 1.96 million tons in 2001, up from 1.53 million tons in 1998. Capacity was expected to increase to 2.4 million tons in 2004, and the 53%-government-owned Arab Potash Co. (APC) was to be privatized by 2002. The World Bank has estimated that of the dissolved solids contained in the Dead Sea, 33 billion tons were sodium chloride and magnesium chloride and about 2 billion tons were potassium chloride.

Copper deposits between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba remained undeveloped. Other potential for progress lay in the availability of bromine, dolomite, glass sands, iron, lead, oil shale, tin, travertine, and tripoli. Jordan Magnesia Company, a subsidiary of APC, was building a plant to produce 50,000 tons per year of refractory grade magnesia and 10,000 tons per year of other grades of magnesia—to be extracted from the Dead Sea, starting in 2002—and the Jordan and Bromine Co. Ltd. started building a plant to produce bromine and bromine compounds, beginning in 2003; the success of both projects would depend on external demand.

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