The mining area of Gafsa in Tunisia has been paralysed by protests and blockades since early April and this has prompted a shutdown of processed phosphates production in the past week.
Following the latest round of protests, Groupe Chimique Tunisien’s (GCT) processed phosphates production declined sharply at the end of April, according to company sources, to around 1/5 of normal production rates, as phosphate rock supplies were running dry.
It is not clear at this stage when production will resume and this will depend on how quickly the situation in Gafsa can be stabilised.
Severe and repeated interruptions to production during 2011 led to a dramatic 40% slump in phosphates export revenues for the full year and phosphate rock output is estimated to have been almost halved in 2011 compared with 2010.
How will production outages affect the balance of the phosphate market?
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