Coromandel International, India’s leading phosphatic fertiliser player, has formalised the acquisition of 45 per cent equity share in Baobab Mining and Chemicals Corporation (BMCC), a rock phosphate mining company based in Senegal, the government said on Wednesday.

“As part of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative to promote self-sufficiency in fertilisers, the government has been advising and supporting the Indian fertiliser companies to strengthen their back-end supply chain. Given the nation’s high dependence on raw materials like rock phosphate and phosphoric acid, India plans to secure its supplies and hedge against price rises by expanding its footprint in mineral-rich countries through investments and multi-year import deals,” the Fertiliser Ministry said in a statement.

Mutual Benefits

Fertilizer Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, who presided over the event wherein officials from BMCC handed over the acceptance letter from the Government of Senegal to Coromandel, said the investment in the rock mines in Senegal will be mutually beneficial for both the nations and will further strengthen the friendship. “The mining will be done in Senegal and the production of DAP will be done in India — 10 lakh tonnes (lt) of diammonium phosphate (DAP) and nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (NPK) will be manufactured,” said Mandaviya.

Security goals

He further said, “India is strengthening its raw material supply security by investing in mineral rich geographies. Government has been partnering with the industry to enable such investments to achieve supply security goals for meeting the country’s fertiliser needs. We are committed to ensure availability of fertilisers for our farmers and will continue to work towards ramping up domestic production and establishing partnerships with other countries.”

The investment in BMCC will secure up to one-third of the rock phosphate requirement of Coromandel and also help diversify its sourcing base, said executive Vice-Chairman, Arun Alagappan.

The country’s DAP import increased 12 per cent to 54.62 lt in 2021-22 from the previous year. The country imports about 80 per cent of its phosphatic fertiliser requirements for which the government subsidy has increased substantially this year as well as last year. Despite the global price hike, the government has ensured retail price at about ₹1350-1400 per 50 kg bag of DAP.