While the Arab Gulf states have held world-attention over the last few months because of their oil deposits, or increasingly valuable "black gold", oil-less Jordan is also concentrating on one of its main assets, "white gold", or phosphate.
GV phosphate area waiting to be blasted
SV explosion (2 shots)
SV Heavy mechanical digger loading lorry. (2 shots)
SV loaded lorry leaving area
GV PAN Across phosphate processing plant.
SV Phosphate tipped into hopper
SV & CU conveyor belt (2 shots)
GV Phosphate pours into container
SV Plant with workmen in foreground
TILT DOWN extraction plant
SV Bulldozer piling up processed phosphate
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Background: While the Arab Gulf states have held world-attention over the last few months because of their oil deposits, or increasingly valuable "black gold", oil-less Jordan is also concentrating on one of its main assets, "white gold", or phosphate.
Jordan is the seventh largest exporter of phosphate in the world, and its deposits are highly prized because of the high percentage of the mineral recovered per ton of ore. Phosphate deposits cover about 60% of the country's area and potential reserves are estimated at 2,000 million tons. The Jordanian government now owns 83% of the company mining the mineral.
An expansion programme has now been launched, aimed at a production rate of three million tons of refined phosphate by 1975. Production in 1973 was 1,089,000 tons. New machinery is now being installed at El Hassa mining area in South Jordan and the completion of a new railway link will improve shipping facilities via the port of Aqaba. At present bulldozers are used to mine the soft phosphate, while the harder rock-clad mineral is being stocked-piled.
The modernisation programme will introduce machinery capable of extracting phosphate from the harder shale and limestone rock. Average annual earnings from the export of phosphate in the past have been about GBP 4,000,000 sterling. When the new programme is completed this will hopefully be doubled.
As well as the new railway and phosphate processing improvements, facilities in the port of Aqaba itself will also be expanded to cater for larger ships and a quicker turn-around time.