DIFS was established in Australia in 1998 and relocated to the Middle East in the same year to extend its business operations and market network. The primary objective was to supply animal feed products to the Middle Eastern Region and this was successfully achieved in the early stages of business activity.
DIFS became a leader over a period of three years, primarily in the distribution of Dicalcium Phosphate (DCP) and Monocalcium Phosphate (MCP) as well as other animal feed products such as Fish Meal, Soya Bean oil and similar animal feed supplements. Subsequently, DIFS successfully expanded its operation from being an importer/distributor to being a Manufacturer of DCP/MCP and Fishmeal.
Since DIFS began operations, its major achievements are:
- 2001-2002 USD 60 Million contract with the Iraqi Government under the Food for Oil programme to supply animal feed.
- 2005 - 2007 USD 10 Million Fishmeal processing plant was established in Mauritania and is currently supplying the Middle Eastern Region.
- 2008 – 2010 USD 35 Million DCP/MCP plant was established in Syria in partnership with two local companies; United Co. For Chemical Industries S.A. and AME Group SARL. However, due to the current political conflict and the instability in the region, the plant production is, currently, limited.
Later in 2010 due to the political uncertainties in the Middle East, DIFS relocated its business operation back to Australia. Since then, DIFS has been undergoing intensive study and research in the development of a DCP plant in Australia for both local and export markets. It has decisively concluded that a DCP plant in Australia would be just as viable as one in Syria
Hugely advantageous factors such as the ultra stable geopolitical situation in Australia along with a large established local consumer market and the abundance of the raw materials of Rock Phosphate, Sulphuric Acid and Limestone virtually at the plant doorstep in Queensland.
The plant built in Syria, which operated very successfully, is the effective prototype for the proposed plant at Charters Towers. The design is modelled on the Syrian plant but with much greater emphasis on environmental considerations along with stringent Health and Safety standards.
The Company Structure
Upon completion of the plant and during the initial production stage, it is envisaged that the number of employees will be somewhere around 35.
These will include but is not necessarily limited to:
- Managerial staff
- Sales staff
- Administrative personnel
- Accounts and financial controller
- Site Engineers
- Laboratories technicians
- General Labourers as required
- Warehouse staff
The following chart outlines the proposed preliminary staffing levels and the organizational structure: (todo: upload chart)
Strengths and Challenges for DIFS
- Supportive Federal, State and Local Governments keen to boost economic activity in the region
- DIFS will be the only manufacturer in Australia supplying the massive market for animal feed phosphate additive
- There is an abundance of raw material, which is readily available in North Queensland
- The plant is located within metres of all utilities and infrastructure necessary for plant operation including:
- Adjacent Flinders Highway
- The plant is to be located within 5 km of the Township where the potential labour force may reside
- Easy access to the port of Townsville facilitating export
- Salable agribusiness By-products - Gypsum, Fertiliser Cake & SSP
- The plant is located central to the North Queensland crop grower markets such as sugar cane, cotton, etc.
- By-product will provide additional revenue of an estimated $8.5 Million based on today’s prices
- Interstate distribution is made easy with comparatively low cost rail
- There is no other manufacturing plant in Australia with the closest competitor being 10,000km away.
The logistics cost to import adds an average of $180 per tonne to the price DIFS can offer its customers.
- Difficult to obtain a project site that is close to all utilities - Resolved
- High cost associated with securing all relevant licenses and permits - Secured
- Protracted period of approximately 2 years to obtain all relevant Government approvals - Obtained
- Labour costs are higher than that of China by around $30 per tonne - Resolved with lower "delivered" product price
- High energy cost at around $15 per tonne - Resolved with lower "delivered" product price
- Paucity of local experienced technical staff such as Chemical and Mechanical Engineers - Resolved in preliminary negotiations with relevant personnel and government agencies