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Balakovo Branch of Apatit

Business activity

The Balakovo Branch of Apatit (PhosAgro Group’s Balakovo chemical cluster) focuses on phosphate-based fertilizers (a leading producer in Europe), feed phosphates (a leading producer in Russia, and the country’s only manufacturer of feed monocalcium phosphate), and ammonium sulphate. The site is located in the Saratov Region, in the south of Russia, near the key regions by mineral fertilizer consumption. It is the first facility certified as compliant with GMP+ European feed quality control standard. Currently, it produces over 2.3 mtpa of commercial products.

Investment program


A warehousing facility with a capacity of 8 kt of liquid ammonia was launched. It is a unique facility that meets all present-day requirements for occupational and environmental safety. It is the first facility in Russia of this scale: six spherical storage tanks of 3,000m3 each. The storage facility improved the Balakovo site’s self-sufficiency in feedstock and created capabilities to develop production capacity.

Total investment in the project amounted to RUB 2 bln.


An ammonia pipeline connecting the Togliatti—Odessa mainline with the liquid ammonia storage facility at the Balakovo Branch of Apatit was built for greater stability and security of feedstock supplies. The pipeline branch is almost 15 km long with a throughput of 504 ktpa of ammonia. Total investment in the project stood at RUB 526 mln.

The SK-17 sulphuric acid system (with a monohydrate production capacity increase from 600 ktpa to 1 mtpa) and EFK-4 technology system were upgraded. This efficiency improvement increased the output of mineral fertilizers and feed monocalcium phosphate at the Balakovo Branch of Apatit. Total investment in the project amounted to RUB 2,860 mln.


EFK-3 with an additional maturing reactor was re-quipped. As a result, the phosphate rock processing system’s performance increased by 6 t per hour. The project’s investment totalled RUB 306 mln.

The first stage of the Development Programme came to an end, with the phosphate-based fertilizer shop’s fifth and sixth systems upgraded and switched to production of the unique granulated ammonium sulphate. PhosAgro is the sole Russian producer of this fertilizer, which is highly popular domestically and across the world. As part of the project, the shop’s fourth system with a catalytic converter was upgraded. The converter boosted the output of ammophos and NPS fertilizers from 60 t to 65 t per day and from 48 t to 60 t per day, respectively. Vacuum-evaporating units were restored, and actions were taken to maintain the facility’s water balance in the spring and summer. Investment in the project amounted to around RUB 580 mln.

The Development Programme’s second stage increasing the production capacity of granulated ammonium sulphate to 360 ktpa commenced. The project envisages construction of a 1,700 m3 warehouse to package and ship ammonium sulphate, which will put in place feedstock reserves necessary for production of mineral fertilizers, and a phosphoric acid storage facility, as well as modernisation of vacuum-evaporating units 1–9 utilised in wet-process phosphoric acid production. The upgrade’s objective is to improve performance by 25%.


A unit was launched to feed inert substance into mineral fertilizers’ production lines. The project costs amounted to RUB 112 mln. The use of inert substance in production of ammophos and NPS fertilizers reduces the consumption of ammonia, sulphuric acid, and magnesite. Furthermore, it serves to adjust the content of nutrients in a finished product. The unit provides for a more even and automated distribution of inert substance, along with a more accurate dosage.

A fluosilicate acid storage facility was built as part of the project aimed at increasing shipments of commercial fluosilicate acid to Cherepovets, where it is used to produce aluminium fluoride. The storage tanks are made of carbon fibre-reinforced plastics. Chemically resistant to acidic environments, such tanks do not require additional protection, which means that much less maintenance is required.


As part of the second phase of the development programme for the Balakovo branch of Apatit JSC, construction of a phosphoric acid storage facility was completed, making it possible to store excess acid and, during periods of preventive maintenance, to use for mineral fertilizer production. The facility is strategically important, as it enhances the stability and efficiency of production processes.

As part of the project to increase the output of feed-grade monocalcium phosphate by 53 thousand tonnes per year, during the overhaul of wet-process phosphoric acid production facilities an additional maturing tank was installed in system No. 4 to increase the capacity of the apatite concentrate processing line.


The second phase of the development programme for the Balakovo branch of Apatit JSC was completed, involving a further increase in the capacity of production systems No. 5 and No. 6 of the phosphate-based fertilizer plant for the production of granular ammonium sulphate. The project also included measures to increase the capacity of the phosphoric acid extraction plant’s vacuum evaporation units VVU 1–9, boosting each unit’s output by 25%.

In December 2023, a storage facility for finished products with a capacity of 4.7 thousand tonnes was commissioned, which will be used for the storage and shipment of granular ammonium sulphate.


A key investment project to ensure that Apatit JSC has sufficient raw materials was completed: the overhaul of one of the SK-20 sulphuric acid plants, increasing its capacity by 40%. Once its design capacity is reached, the site will be able to produce up to 3 million tonnes of monohydrate per year.

Major investment projects underway:

In 2024, as part of the project to increase production of feed-grade monocalcium phosphate, a flexible feed-grade phosphate production scheme will be created to produce a competitive product that can replace monoammonium phosphate in the event of dramatic changes in mineral fertilizer prices. Under the project, measures have already been implemented to increase apatite concentrate processing capacity by installing an additional maturing reactor at EFK-4 and a belt vacuum filter at EFK-2. The mineral salts shop is scheduled to undergo a technical upgrade in Q3 2024 so as to achieve the target output of feed-grade phosphates.

In 2023, PhosAgro launched the third and final phase of its investment programme to develop the Balakovo Chemical Plant, which will boost overall fertilizer output while establishing flexible production of mineral fertilizers, such as MAP, DAP, NPK and NPS fertilizers, using the best available technologies and refining the range of finished products in line with the market environment.

Under phase 3, capacities are to be ramped up incrementally in pilot operation mode beginning from 2025.

A 53 ktpa increase in MCP production in the mineral salts unit at the Balakovo Branch of Apatit. Flexible production of feed phosphates will enable the making of competitive products to replace ammophos in case of drastic changes in prices for mineral fertilizers. The project is scheduled to end in 1Q 2023.

Retrofitting of the SK-20 technological system at the Balakovo Branch of Apatit. The project should bring the SK-20 technological system’s performance at 138.4 t of monohydrate per hour and provide room for a further increase in sulphuric acid production by 350 ktpa. In addition to an increased output of sulphuric acid, the project ensures Apatit’s feedstock security. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2Q 2023.

  1. Fertilisers: monoammonium phosphate (MAP), diammonium phosphate (DAP), ammonium phosphate sulphate (various grades), granular ammonium sulphate.
  2. Feed additives: monocalcium phosphate.
  3. Acids: various grades of sulphuric acid, oleum, clear and colourless phosphoric acid.
  4. Other products: sodium fluorosilicate for the building materials industry and the fluoridation of drinking water.