While Jordan is home to multiple chip factories, there were no maize mills in the country to supply those facilities. Instead, the chip manufacturers were importing their raw materials from Turkey and Europe.

Al-Hazaa Investment Group, seeing an opportunity to fill a need for the country and region, started work in 2016 on its Al-Hasad Maize Mill in the Daba area of Amman, Jordan.

“This encouraged us to establish this mill, to supply the needs of the local market and neighboring markets,” said Khalid Al-Hazaa, general manager.

The 200-tonne-per-day (tpd) mill is the first of its kind in Jordan, producing maize grits, corn flour, corn germ and other byproducts. The greenfield project, which includes a multi-story mill, storage silos and related outbuildings, cost $14 million to build and took two years to complete.

“We have started this project from scratch and designed the mill and storage silos along with its outbuildings and all other facilities,” Khalid Al-Hazaa said. “We, as Al-Hazaa Investment Group, are very proud to have such a developed and unique project in the region that serves our country and other neighboring countries. We are intending to further expand the project in the future and therefore there is room and plans for the potential expansion.”

Since it opened for business in the 1940s with a flour mill in Iraq, Al-Hazaa Investment has sought to build strong foundations in major markets, expanding and staying sensitive to industry changes. The company now works across the Middle East in various sectors and industries ranging from grain milling and feed production to global storage, ice and plastic products.

In Jordan alone, it operates the South Amman, Marka and Raghadan flour mills; the Global Storage and Animal Feeds Co. feed mill; Al-Jadeda Foods Co. pasta production facility; and The New Plastic Industrial Co. plastics plant that manufactures woven polypropylene bags. Al Hazaa Investment also operates in Iraq, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

For its maize facility, the company said it wanted the highest quality raw product and the latest, most advanced technology. For mill design as well as milling equipment, Al-Hazaa Investment turned to Uzwil, Switzerland-based Bühler, which it has worked with multiple times in the past. Bühler recently completed an expansion of Al-Hazaa Investment’s South Amman flour mill.

That project included expanding the building and installing all new equipment in Mill A, the addition of a 72-tonne-per-day (wheat equivalent) capacity stone mill, connecting Mill A and Mill B for receiving wheat as well as mixing flour between the two, and adding an NIR system for quality control.

First of its kind

The 200-tpd mill sits on 22,000 square meters of land and is several stories tall. The facility has eight storage silos, supplied by Brazil-based Kepler Weber, with a total storage capacity of 60,000 tonnes.

In addition to the chip factories in Jordan, there is a significant increase in consumption of gluten-free products in the region, Khalid Al-Hazaa said, providing another market for the new maize facility.

The facility’s extraction rate is almost 75% for flour, fine and coarse maize grits and 25% divided between corn germ (7%) and bran (18%). Products produced include fine maize grits number 108, coarse maize grits number 101, corn flour (gluten free), corn germ and other byproducts such as corn bran.

Products are packaged in 25-kg and 50-kg polypropylene bags and one-tonne bulk packages for use by big factories. End users include large producers in Jordan, including Mr. Chips, Jordina, Hala Chips and other well-known brands in Jordan and the region, Khalid Al-Hazaa said.

The Al-Hasad mill fits nicely into the company’s existing businesses, he said. The storage silos provide the maize mill with its corn needs while the products and byproducts produced at the mill are used in the feed mill that belongs to the Al-Hazaa group.

Al-Hazaa Investment launched the Global Feed Mill Company in 2008, building the feed mill to keep up with growing demand in Jordan and Iraq. Initially, the mill had a capacity of 240 tpd, but another feed mill line from Bühler was added in 2016, doubling production capacity to 480 tpd. The company produces two types of feed, cattle and poultry, for the Jordanian market as well as some exports to Iraq.

Quality in, quality out

Maize used by the mill is imported from Brazil, Argentina and the United States through the Aqaba port and transported by trucks to the mill for storage. The silos are equipped with the appropriate ventilation systems to keep the high-specification corn moist, Khalid Al-Hazaa said. Jordan’s corn production is negligible, at under 10,000 tonnes, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Overall corn consumption in Jordan in 2018-19 is estimated at 805,000 tonnes, up 5,000 tonnes from the USDA’s estimate of 800,000 tonnes in the 2017-18 market year.

At the Al-Hasad mill, the imported corn is sifted in the cleaning section of the mill using Bühler’s newest optical sorter, SORTEX, and other complementary devices. After cleaning, the corn germ is extracted by the MHXM-M corn degerminator that helps maintain a low level of fat through dry degermination. During this type of degermination, the product does not come into contact with water, which has a hygienic advantage compared to wet degermination. Because the process doesn’t require the addition of water or pre-conditioning with steam, the operating and investment costs are less. The product is handled gently so the germ, epidermis and endosperm are neatly separated with a minimal amount of fines, resulting in pure products with a consistent high quality.

The corn is ground in roller mills from Bühler. The flowsheet for the mill was designed by Bühler’s Martin Schlauri.

“All of those machines help to get the best extraction rate, high-quality production and low consumption of energy,” Khalid Al-Hazaa said. “Our mill is fully automated starting from receiving corn and storing it in our silos until our final products are produced. However, all the machines we use are energy efficient and do not consume much power. We care for our environment and therefore we use clean energy.”

Khalid Al-Hazaa said the power used to operate the mill is 100% clean energy and is generated at the solar power plant that belongs to the Al-Hazaa Investment Group.

“We believe that it is our responsibility to provide our customers with excellent quality products,” Khalid Al-Hazaa said. “The only thing we take into consideration while building any new facility is customer satisfaction and reaching the highest level of food quality and safety. Therefore, we use the best inputs and the latest technologies and equipment to ensure that we have satisfied those goals. Our facilities and production capabilities are continuously improved.”