US fertilizer company Mosaic Co plans to invest up to $1 billion in a joint venture to produce phosphate in Saudi Arabia, giving the Minnesota-based company a new geographic source of the crop nutrient.
The $7 billion project, including a mine and chemical complexes to make phosphate fertilizer, will be 60 percent owned by Saudi Arabian mining and metals company Ma'aden. Mosaic will own 25 percent and petrochemical company Saudi Basic Industries Corp will hold 15 percent.
The Wa'ad Al Shammal phosphate project in northern Saudi Arabia would produce 3.5 million tonnes of finished product annually, including phosphate, animal feed and other products, starting in late 2016.
The project will complement Mosaic's existing phosphate production in Florida and Louisiana, said the company's chief executive, Jim Prokopanko.
Mosaic's role will be to help design, build and operate the project, in exchange for one quarter of the project's production.
The three companies expect to sign a definitive agreement in the first half of 2013.