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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)

Briggs, Ted C.
Nitrogen,   pp. 881-896 PDF (2.1 MB)

Page 890

fate and urea, had stockpile reductions of 300,000 and 550,000 tons, respectively.
The reduction in stocks was due to unexpected growth in demand for fertilizers
in India, Mexico, and other countries in Southeast Asia and Latin America.34
 The Japan Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI) urged Japanese fertilizer
producers to make a gradual retreat from world fertilizer export markets.
While acknowledging Japan's current share of the fertilizer export markets,
MITI had strong doubts about the long-term prospects in this sector. MITI
predicted that ammonia demand would grow only slightly and that existing
Japanese ammonia plants will only be operating at 86% of capacity in 1976.
Old plants should be closed and no new capadty was necessary according to
MITI. MITI said that around 770,000 tons per year of urea capacity should
be scrapped to reduce the current 70% to 80% dependence on export markets.35
 Mitsubishi Katoki Kaisha commissioned a large coal gas distillation plant
at the Sakaidi, Kanagawa complex of Mitsubishi Chemical Industries. The new
plant employed U.S. Steel Corp.'s Phosam ammonia recovery process which separated
ammonia, benzene, and fuel gas from coal gas.'6 
 Japanese producers of caprolactam, coke, and synthetic resins started moves
to cut back production of byproduct ammonium sulfate by introducing new processes.
Nearly all Japan's ammonium sulfate was produced as byproduct material, and
in 1972 production of byproduct ammonium sulfate was over 2 million tons.
 Ube Industries Ltd., Japan's largest producer of caprolactam, planned to
use Dutch State Mines technology to reduce ammonium sulfate production from
4.2 tons to 1.7 tons per ton of caprolactam produced. 
 Mitsubishi Chemical Industries and Nippon Steel Corp. adopted new coke production
processes which do not produce ammonium sulfate. Also, Mitsubishi Chemical
Industries applied for a loan to finance a new methyl methacrylate unit to
cut byproduct ammonium sulfate production." 
 Japan's fertilizer industry enjoyed a sharp rise in demand and price improvements
after 3 sluggish years. Orders and inquiries were received from Mexico, El
Salvador, India, Brazil, China, and other countries. Japanese fertilizer
producers re 
jected a number of inquiries because the prices proposed by potential buyers
were considered too low. In the past, about 60% of Japan's fertilizer exports
went to China.38 
 Mexico.—A joint venture group consisting of Celanese Mexicana, Nylon
de Mexico, Dutch State Mines, and the Credits Buratil of the Mexican bank
commissioned its 40,000-ton-per-year caprolactam plant at Salamanca, Mexico.
Dutch State Mines, which holds a 23% interest in the operation, supplied
the plant process, and construction was carried out by Stamicarbon Corp.
The plant was to provide a domestic source of caprolactam for the nylon operations
of Celanese Mexicana at Taluca and Nylon de Mexico at Monterrey. Fibras Sinteticas,
which recently expanded its nylon polymerization and spinning facilities
at Monterrey with the aid of Vickers Zimmer, was also expected to take caprolactam
from the new plant. Ammonia and cyclohexane for the new operation were supplied
by Petrdleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and the byproduct ammonium sulfate produced
along with the caprolactam was sold to Guanos y Fertilizantes S.A.39 
 Pemex awarded a contract to the M. W. Kellogg Co. of the United States for
the design and engineering of a 1,000-ton-perday ammonia plant. In addition
to the engineering, Kellogg was to be responsible for the construction, commissioning,
and assistance in procurement of specialized equipment. The ammonia plant
was to be built at the petrochemical complex at Co. soleacaque and will be
the first large-scale ammonia plant in Mexico designed by Kellogg. Completion
of the plant was scheduled for 1974, and the ammonia was to be used domestically.4°
 ~ Chemical Marketing Reporter. Fertilizer Industry of Japanese Climbing
Out of the Doldrums as Export Mart Comes to Life. V. 202, No. 9, Aug. 28,
1972, pp. 7, 36. 
 ~'  European Chemical News. MIT! Urges Retreat From N, Urea Exports. V.
22, No. 559, Nov. 17, 1972, p. 8. 
 ' 6European Chemical News. New Process Coal Gas Distillation Unit On Stream.
V. 22, No. 546, Aug. 18, 1972, p. 6. 
 "Chemical Age. Japan To Cut Back Ammonium Sulfate Production. V. 104, No.
2748, Mar. 17, 1972, p. 20. 
 "Chemical Marketing Reporter. Fertilizer Makers Enjoy Brisk Demand in Japan.
V. 202, No. 1, July 3, 1972, p. 19. 
 39 European Chemical News. Caprolactam Unst Started in Mexico. V. 22, No.
560, Nov. 24, 1972, p. 10. 
 ~° European Chemical News. Kellogg Builds Pemex NH3 Unit. V. 22, No.
542, July 21, 1972, p. 10. 

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