CAIRO, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- A consortium formed by China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) and China Wengfu (Group) Co., Ltd. signed on Tuesday a contract with the Egyptian state-run Phosphate Misr Company on the construction and operation of a giant phosphoric acid plant in Egypt.
The signing ceremony was attended by Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tareq al-Molla and Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang as well as a number of Egyptian and Chinese officials.
The project, with a total investment cost of 848 million U.S. dollars, is located at Abu Tartour of New Valley Governorate in the southwest of Egypt and the plant will be used to produce commercial-grade phosphoric acid products.
The annual production capacity of the plant is about 1 million tons of phosphoric acid which is the basic material for the manufacture of simple and compound phosphate fertilizers.
The scope of the contract includes the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) of temporary facilities on-site, process facilities, utilities, storage and transport facilities both on and off site.
A long-term sale contract for about 500,000 tons of phosphoric acid products annually, an equivalent of half of the expected output of the plant, was signed with China's Wengfu Group, one of the largest phosphate producers in the world.
The project is scheduled to be implemented within 30 months, in addition to six months of trial operation and production, according to al-Molla.
"The project will create thousands of job opportunities during construction and operation," he told Xinhua.
The Egyptian oil minister pointed out that the project comes within the framework of the Egyptian government's approach in support of industries with high added value with the aim of "achieving the maximum possible benefit from Egypt's natural potential and wealth."
The minister praised the consortium of the Chinese companies implementing the project, saying they possess very high global experiences in this field.
Wang Shaofeng, chairman of CSCEC Egypt, said the successful bid of the consortium by the CSCEC and Wengfu Group broke the monopoly of European and American companies on such projects.
"This will be the second largest phosphorus chemical project in the world," he said. "The design, construction, operation of this project will be undertaken by Chinese companies, which will help the development of industrialization in Egypt."
As the Egyptian economy recovers gradually and the urbanization of the country continues, CSCEC is very confident about the Egyptian market, Wang noted.
"This project and the New Capital project are twin engines of Egyptian industrial development. We hope to play a greater role in the development of industrialization and economic construction in Egypt," he said.
By 2018, the total Chinese investments in Egypt exceeded 7 billion dollars, providing about 30,000 direct job opportunities to Egyptians, according to official Chinese statistics.
The trade exchange between China and Egypt hit a record high of 13.87 billion dollars in 2018 when Egyptian exports to China rose to 1.8 billion dollars.