Ashgabat, 26 December 2016 (nCa) — Belarus is working on a mega project in Turkmenistan – Potash mining and processing complex at Garlyk area of Lebap province.
DPM Ereshov (industries) reported Friday during the cabinet meeting that Belarus had promised to deliver the project by 31 March 2017. He said that the ground structures will be completed by 1 February 2017 and the underground structures would be ready by 20 February 2017.
The agreement for the project was signed between the Belarusian company Belneftekhim and Turkmen state corporation Turkmenhimiya in January 2009. The contractor was supposed to do the project on turnkey basis, with annual production capacity of 1.4 million tons of potash fertilizers.
It was agreed at the time of signing the contract that the project would be ready for putting into operation by the end of 2014.
Two years have passed since the expiry of the original cut-off date. During this period at least three revised deadlines were announced by Belarus and all of them passed with no completion in sight.
One should hope that Belarus would be able to stick to this latest closing date.
The long delay – two years is a long time when economic interests are at stake – was perhaps because of the economic woes of Belarus. However, there remains the possibility that the project was not accorded the priority it deserved, hence the delay.
Hopefully, Belarus can appreciate the cost of delay for Turkmenistan:
- Because of the shifting deadlines and consequent reassessment of various phases of implementation due to market conditions, the cost of the project has increased considerably. This has upset the cost-profit ratio of the project for Turkmenistan. The inability of Belarus to deliver the project on the initial deadline has punched holes in the economic projections of Turkmenistan.
- Despite the ongoing and current economic turmoil in the world, that is also affecting Turkmenistan, the country has made huge investments in the transport infrastructure. The Atamurat-Imamnazar-Akina railway line, which is part of the Lapis Lazuli corridor, was completed by Turkmenistan entirely from its own resources and opened recently. The consideration at the time of planning of the Garlyk project was that the Atamurat-Imamnazar-Akina railway line will be used for the transportation of potash fertilizers through this railway segment to the potential markets at home and abroad. With every passing day this railway capacity is being wasted because there is nothing from Garlyk to export as yet. This, in turn, is adding to the break-even time of the railway line.
- Turkmenistan has already found clients in Afghanistan and Tajikistan for the potash fertilizers and some other products from Garlyk project. China and South Asia are also huge markets. The Garlyk complex, the largest such project in the region, is supposed to provide quality potash fertilizers and related products at affordable cost to the countries in the region and beyond. It is not difficult to imagine that had the project been completed in time, it would have brought considerable economic benefits to both Turkmenistan and Belarus and also bolstered the agriculture sector in the client countries.
The delay has already hurt the reputation of Belarus and caused damage to its economic outlook. Central Asia is a region on the move and Belarus stands to benefit hugely by participating in the industrial development here. For this to gain traction, Belarus would need to take measures to repair its reputation by making sure that March 2017 is the final deadline for the Garlyk complex. Had the project been completed in time, it would potentially brought other clients to Belarus.
Even though Potash is generally known as the basic raw material for fertilizers, it is actually vital for a number of industrial and agricultural applications.
The potash fertilizers – potassium carbonate, potassium chloride, potassium sulfate etc. – are used for the overall health of the plant, root strength, disease resistance, yield rate, and improvement of the colour, texture and taste of the produce. It is estimated that without the potash fertilizers, the foot shortages would increase by 33% in severity. There is no cheaper alternate to potash fertilizers.
Potash – in the shape of potassium carbonate – is used in the animal feed. It promotes healthy growth in the animals and increases milk production.
Potassium carbonate is also used by the food industry as an additive for seasoning. Another use is in the brewing of beer. Potassium carbonate has properties similar to the baking soda and enhances certain recipes.
Potassium peroxide is a precursor in the soap making process. It gives softness and solubility to the soap, and requires less water to liquefy as compared to sodium soaps. Caustic potash is used in the manufacture of detergents and dyes.
Potassium chloride is an environmentally friendly agent for treating the hard water. It regenerates ion exchange resins more efficiently than sodium chloride, reducing the total amount of discharged chlorides in sewage or septic systems.
Potassium chloride is major ingredient in deicing products for clearing snow and ice from surfaces such as roads and building entrances. Compared to other chemicals used for this purpose, potassium chloride is environmentally friendly and un-harmful to the surfaces.
Potassium carbonate is used as a flux in glass manufacturing, lowering the temperature at which the mixture melts. Additionally, it gives excellent clarity to glass, making it essential for the production of eyeglasses, glassware, televisions and computer monitors. /// nCa (information about potash products taken from www.feeco.com)