(181126) -- ALGIERS, Nov. 26, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Algeria's Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia delivers a speech during a signing ceremony in Tebessa, Algeria, on Nov. 26, 2018. Algeria and China on Monday signed cooperation documents for the implementation of a mega integrated project worth 6 billion U.S. dollars for the exploitation of phosphate in the eastern region of Algeria. (Xinhua)
INTERNATIONAL - 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.

Elsewhere in Africa, Rio Tinto will sell its 69 percent stake in a Namibian uranium mine to China National Uranium Corp (CNUC) for up to $106.5 million, it said on Monday, as China seeks to bolster supplies and Rio offloads less-profitable assets.

Analysts said that China, which is targeting nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels and already owns stakes in Namibian uranium production, was an obvious buyer of the shares in the Rossing mine.

Rossing is the world’s longest-running open pit uranium mine, operating since 1976, and has produced more uranium than any other mine.

REUTERS