Leading by example – the global fertilizer industry promotes Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) management excellence

     Santiago, Chili - 12 April 2013

The International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) and its member company Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A (SQM) held the 2013 global Fertilizer Safety Summit & Technical Symposium in Santiago, Chile from 8-11 April. 150 participants from 20 countries discussed responsible fertilizer production and best practices in the areas of Safety, Health and the Environment (SHE).

Top technical experts from the industry convened to discuss innovative new production processes and share best practices. The conference focused in particular on SHE matters like product security, and employee safety, as well as technical areas like process safety, and methods to optimize ammonia production.

Francisco Orrego Bauzá, Undersecretary of the Chilean Ministry of Mines, was a keynote speaker and reflected on the steps taken by the Chilean government after the Copiapo copper- gold mine accident of 2010. Mr. Orrego Bauzá indicated that, as a result of Congress hearings and investigations, more than 30 proposals were incorporated into current safety legislation and governmental procedures. He also commended SQM for its safety efforts and leadership in promoting IFA’s Safety First approach worldwide. Eugenio Ponce, SQM’s Senior Vice- President and IFA’s Senior Vice-President added, “Bien Seguro, Bien Hecho or A job well done is a job done safely is SQM’s motto on safety. Under this concept, SQM has managed to significantly reduce its accident rate since 2004. My company’s goal is to reach zero accidents.”

IFA’s biennial Green Leaf Award for SHE excellence was also awarded in Santiago to Qatar Fertilizer Company (QAFCO) for its outstanding implementation of management systems to ensure SHE controls across the product life cycle at its ammonia and urea production facilities. QAFCO’s CEO, Khalifa Al Suwaidi received the award in person. The prizes for first and second runners-up went to Tata Chemicals Ltd. (India) and Profertil (Argentina).

“It is my belief that our people are the industry’s highest priority. This is why I have made safety the prime focus of my work, not only in my own company but also in my leadership in the Association. We all need to make sure that every colleague should exit our locations in the same healthy way they entered them at the beginning of their working day”, stated William J. Doyle, CEO of PotashCorp and President of IFA. Commitment to employee safety extends beyond the production site, as demonstrated by Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co's (GCPI) recent mobile phone ban while driving. The “On the Road off the Phone” initiative is based on extensive research that clearly shows that traffic accidents caused by mobile phones occur every 24 seconds.

Following the conference, all participants were invited to explore how safety and technology complement each other in SQM’s mining facilities in the Atacama Desert.

More information about 2013 Global Fertilizer Safety Summit & Technical Symposium
SQM , a worldwide company based in Chile and founded in 1968, has today a strong global presence in a wide variety of industries and applications through its five business lines: Specialty Plant Nutrition, Iodine and derivatives, Lithium and derivatives, Industrial Chemicals and Potassium. At its plants in Northern Chile, SQM processes two precious natural resources: caliche ore and salt brines, which constitute the raw material for SQM's broad product portfolio and which are at the heart of an integrated and flexible production process which enables SQM to obtain at the same time different and complementary natural products, including nitrate derivatives.

QAFCO was founded in 1969 as a joint venture between the Government of Qatar and a number of foreign shareholders. The country's first large-scale venture in the petrochemical sector, QAFCO was established with a view to diversify the economy and utilize the nation's enormous gas reserve. After successfully implementing several expansion projects over the past three decades, the Company has evolved into a world-class fertiliser producer. QAFCO is now owned 75% by Industries Qatar (IQ) and 25% by Yara Netherland. With a sizable annual production capacity of 3.8 million metric tonnes of ammonia and 5.6 million metric tonnes of urea from four Ammonia and four Urea plants, QAFCO is now the world’s largest single-site producer of urea.

The International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) is a trade association representing the global fertilizer industry. IFA member companies represent all activities related to the production and distribution of every type of fertilizer, their raw materials and intermediates. IFA’s membership also includes organizations involved in agronomic research and training. IFA has some 540 members in about 86 countries. The global fertilizer industry produces some 170 million tons of fertilizer nutrients annually. These are used in every corner of the globe to support sustainable agricultural production and food security.

Media Contacts

Ms. Morgane Danielou, Director - Communications and Policy Affairs
International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA)
Switchboard: +33 1 53 93 05 00 - Fax: +33 1 53 93 05 47