THE FOLLOWING IS TAKEN FROM THE WIKIPEDIA ENTRY FOR PROJECT AMAL
Project Amal is an important factor in the Prelude to Dune novels. It was an early attempt by the Tleilaxu to create synthetic melange in order to remove dependence upon the planet Arrakis, by that time the only source of melange in the Known Universe.
Upon presenting their idea to the Emperor Elrood Corrino IX, in 10,154 A.G. the Tleilaxu were granted the right to occupy the planet Ix by force (with the help of Elrood's Sardaukar army) and remake it into a laboratory station for the project. The old Emperor wanted to remove the spice monopoly by making sure that he had the only access to it, thus controlling the Spacing Guild. The Tleilaxu subsequently renamed Ix Xuttuh after their founder. In the year 10,156 A.G., Elrood IX was assassinated by the Imperial Court's Count Hasimir Fenring at the behest of Crown Prince Shaddam. Shaddam, now under the name of Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV, gave Fenring the title of Imperial Spice Minister and ordered him to supervise the project.
Although Tleilaxu Master Hidar Fen Ajidica managed to create an artificial melange (called ajidamal, or amal) that seemed to have the original's properties, it didn't work properly. The test-sandtrouts exploded, and Fenring's test of its use on Guild Navigator ended in catastrophe as one Heighliner was destroyed (along with its passengers) and the Navigator of a second died. When Duke Leto Atreides invaded Xuttuh in 10,175 AG, and re-established Prince Rhombur of House Vernius as the Earl of Ix, all the records of Project Amal were destroyed by Fenring.
When the news hit the Landsraad, Shaddam denied all participation, claiming never to have heard of it. He maintained that it was all probably something his senile father Elrood had done in his last days. The Tleilaxu Masters involved were finally executed. Ajidica himself had died from the side effects of ajidamal: his body literally fell apart as the synthetic melange had eaten it away from the inside out.