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Apatit (Cherepovets, Vologda region)


Apatit (PhosAgro Group’s Cherepovets-based chemical cluster) is Europe’s biggest producer of phosphate-based fertilizers and of phosphoric and sulphuric acids, as well as one of the Russian leaders by NPK, ammonia and ammonium nitrate output.

The production site is 80% self-sufficient in terms of its electricity needs, in no small part thanks to leading the way in the industry in utilisation of waste heat generated as part of the sulphuric acid production process.

In addition to Russia, PhosAgro’s priority market, Apatit’s products are supplied to many countries in Western Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. It boasts a commercial river port on its grounds, which is used to transport feedstock and finished products. Apatit operates rolling stock of some 9,000 railway cars of various types.

The site’s production capacity is over 7.5 mtpa of fertilizers per year.

Investment program

From 2014 to 2023, total investments in PhosAgro Group’s Cherepovets-based chemical cluster exceeded RUB 175 billion. This resulted in a capacity increase of 3.5 million tonnes.

A new production facility comprising the third high-tech ammonia plant with a capacity of 760 ktpa and a granulated urea plant with a capacity of 500 ktpa was launched in late 2017. It helped us boost output of mineral fertilizers, expand sales markets and curb feedstock import. The new ammonia and urea capacities use state-of-the-art licensed technologies and entirely meet the best available technology requirements. Following the launch of the new urea unit and upgrades to the two existing units in 2017, Apatit took the lead in urea output in Russia at a single production facility.

In July 2017, we put into operation state-of-the-art biological and chemical wastewater treatment facilities with a capacity of 10,000 m3 per day. They were included in the country’s action plan for the Year of Ecology. Industrial effluents, rainwater and domestic sewage from Apatit’s Nitrogen Complex and from third-party properties, such as the Novye Ugli town and the Cherepovets industrial park, are fed to the wastewater treatment facilities. Cutting-edge technologies eliminate effluent discharge into waterbodies, and treated wastewater is reused in Apatit production cycle.

December 2018 saw the commissioning of the upgraded SK-600/3 sulphuric acid production unit and a terminal for feedstock storage with a capacity of 30 kt. With the upgrades in place, the capacity of the SK-600/3 unit increased from 680 ktpa to 1 mtpa of sulphuric acid, helping to reduce the Company’s dependence on third-party supplies of sulphuric acid.

In December 2019, the construction of the ammonium sulphate production unit with a capacity of 300 ktpa came to an end, reducing the dependency on feedstock from external sources and ensuring the consistently high quality of both ammonium sulphate and complex fertilizers produced from it. The unit processes Apatit’s own sulphuric acid and ammonia and complies with all applicable environmental requirements. In terms of unit capacity, it is superior to any other plant of this kind existing elsewhere in the world.

In summer 2020, a new plant to produce nitric acid used as a raw material for complex mineral fertilizers with a capacity of 135 ktpa came on stream, making it possible to produce additional 150 ktpa of ammonium nitrate.

In 2020–2021, construction of a new sulphuric acid plant with a capacity of 3,300 t per day, or 1,100 ktpa, was completed. In Cherepovets, SK-3300 became the fifth sulphuric acid system and a model of advanced technologies. The system was based on the principles of the best available technologies (BAT) pursuant to Russian and foreign BAT reference books. The project significantly reduced the facility’s dependence on third-party sulphuric acid supplies. The unit was commissioned by Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov during his visit to Cherepovets in November 2021.

In 2021, a project was implemented to boost the output of phosphate-based fertilizers at Apatit (Cherepovets). The NIUIF has developed engineering solutions to boost phosphoric acid output at section No. 1 of the wet-process phosphoric acid plant. At further stages, the acid is processed using upgraded mineral fertilizer production capacities. The project focuses on increasing process capacities from 600 ktpa to 830 ktpa of P2O5 and retrofitting two sulphuric acid plants to ramp up their aggregate capacity from 1.5 mtpa to 2 mtpa and boost in-house sulphuric acid production. With these upgrades in place, the volumes of phosphate-based fertilizers produced and apatite concentrate processed should rise by 1,127 ktpa and 580 ktpa, respectively.

In 2021, the first stage of a project to revamp the Kriolit railway station and build a private track connecting to the October Railway’s Nelazskoye station was completed. Once the railway infrastructure is put in place, Apatit’s freight turnover will rise from 12 mt to 16.5 mt. Redistribution of cargo flows is expected to reduce the load on the existing infrastructure at the Severnaya Railway’s Koshta station. At present, construction is nearing completion. The ceremony to launch the connection line took place in November 2021 and was presided by Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov.

In December 2021, PhosAgro completed an upgrade of the aluminium fluoride plant, increasing its production capacity to 73 ktpa, which enables UC RUSAL to purchase less aluminium fluoride from China and place 70% of aluminium fluoride production capacities in Russia. The aluminium fluoride shop upgrade programme launched in summer 2020 saw a new unit for aluminium fluoride paste calcination and drying, as well as cooling of the finished product. Other production facilities were also upgraded ramping up the shop’s aggregate capacity. In addition, the project involved construction of infrastructure to transport fluosilicate acid from Balakovo and Volkhov for further processing in the aluminium fluoride shop, which maximised fluosilicate acid processing and reduce waste disposal. Eight new jobs were created. Investments in the project totalled RUB 3.5 bln. The launching ceremony was attended by First Deputy President of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation Andrey Turchak.


Increase of AM-3 (ammonia unit No. 3) capacity by 7% to 813 thousand tonnes per year

Under the project, work was carried out in 2021–2022 to upgrade the CO2 purification unit, eliminating bottlenecks identified during the operation of ammonia unit No. 3 and modernising the demineralised-water production unit.

Phosphoric acid capacity support programme

Construction of the new vacuum evaporation unit No. 10 was completed in April 2023 as part of a targeted programme to support the phosphoric acid extraction plant. Other measures aimed at improving the phosphoric acid extraction plant were also implemented. As a result of the programme, P2O5 output increased by 110 thousand tonnes.

Additional processing of apatite concentrate at Apatit JSC

In 2023, a project was launched to increase the amount of apatite concentrate processed at Apatit JSC’s Cherepovets site. The project will increase the processing of apatite concentrate by 218 thousand tonnes per year through performance improvements at EFK-2 and EFK-3, along with an increase in the output of phosphate-based fertilizers of 173 thousand tonnes per year.

In 2023, modernisation of the extraction and absorption systems at building 5.55 was completed, while work on installing new belt vacuum filters and a new VVU-64 vacuum evaporation unit began. All work under the project is to be completed in 2024.

Capacity is expected to be reached in September 2024.

Conversion of EFK-1 to dry phosphogypsum removal

The project involves the conversion of the process systems at the EFK-1 facility, for the extraction of phosphoric acid, from a wet process to dry phosphogypsum removal, the construction of a main conveyor gallery and the siting of a dry phosphogypsum dump at the pyrite cinder sludge storage facility.

The project will result in the optimisation of the storage technology for semi-hydrated gypsum and the improved capacity and operational life of the phosphogypsum disposal facilities. In addition, the project will help minimise the environmental impact by phasing out the pyrite cinder storage facility and reducing wastewater volumes.

In 2023, EFK-1’s process system No. 1 was switched to dry phosphogypsum removal, and work began on the construction of the main conveyor. Plans are in place to complete the construction of the conveyor in 2024 and switch process system No. 2 to dry phosphogypsum removal. The pyrite cinder sludge storage facility is to be mothballed and the dry dump set up by 2027.

Increasing the aluminium fluoride shop capacity to 79.1 thousand tonnes per year

Implementation of this project will increase the amount of aluminium fluoride produced thanks to the use of a reserve drying and rolling drum and a technical upgrade of certain stages of the process. In addition, the project will result in greater capacity for hexafluorosilicic acid processing and, accordingly, a reduction in the amount that requires neutralisation and storage.

Capacity is expected to be reached in February 2025.


  • Fertilizers: ammophos (MAP), white and coloured diammonium phosphate (DAP), diammophoska (10:26:26), NPK (various grades), liquid complex fertilizers, sulphoammophos (various grades), ammonium nitrate (AN).
  • Acids: sulphuric, phosphoric, nitric.
  • Urea: prilled and granulated, diesel and feed grades.
  • Aluminium fluoride.
  • Industrial liquid ammonia.