10 Aug 2006

Nauru about to resume exporting large quantities of phosphate

6:53 pm on 10 August 2006

Nauru is about to send 30 thousand tonnes of phosphate to India - its first major shipments of the fertilizer in nearly ten years.

It comes after a multi million dollar refurbishment of the island's mining plant.

The Minister of Development and Industry, Frederick Pitcher, says the rebuilt facilities will be able to process half a million tonnes a year.

He says the government has also confirmed that it is feasible to mine what is called the secondary phosphate - that which has hard to reach because of massive columns of coral.

"Now this of course involves new production techniques for us, and mining techniques. We are working on procuring the right equipment for that and hope to start the preliminary mining of secondary phosphate in about the first quarter of next year. We already have an order for a shipment of 30 thousands tonnes of second phosphate."

Frederick Pitcher says the secondary sources of phosphate could sustain the industry on Nauru for 30 to 40 years.