Algeria signs $6 billion deal with China to build phosphate plant

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria signed a $6 billion deal with China on Monday to build a phosphate plant in the region of Tebessa.

“The plant will come online in 2022, and it will create 3,000 jobs,” Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, CEO of state energy firm Sonatrach, told reporters in televised comments during the signing ceremony which was attended by Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia.

Sonatrach will hold 51 percent of the project - which will cost $6 billion to build - and Chinese state-owned conglomerate CITIC 49 percent, an Algerian source said.

The project, in the region of Tebessa, 700 km (430 miles) east of the capital Algiers, will generate $1.9 billion per year, according to Sonatrach’s CEO.

Algeria is trying to diversify its economy away from energy which represents 95 percent of its external revenues.

Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; Editing by Ulf Laessing and Adrian Croft