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Kirovsk Branch of Apatit

Operations

Kirovsk Branch of Apatit is a 90-year old mining and processing plant.

It was incorporated in 1929 as Trust Apatit to mine the unique apatite-nepheline ore from the Khibiny deposit. This is one of the world’s biggest and richest deposits and the main source of phosphate rock in Russia, unique in terms of environmental friendliness and safety.


With more than two billion tonnes of ore produced and processed since the facility’s foundation, Kirovsk Branch has churned out more than 700 mt and 72 mt of apatite and nepheline concentrate, respectively.


Khibiny Branch of Apatit is PhosAgro’s flagship producer supplying eco-friendly apatite concentrate to the Company’s facilities across the country so that they could put out fertilizers for our clients in Russia and over 100  foreign countries.


Currently, Kirovsk Branch of Apatit is the world’s leading producer of high-grade (P2O5 content of at least 37.5%) phosphate rock and Russia’s only producer of nepheline concentrate.


It develops six Khibiny deposits: Kukisvumchorr, Yukspor, Apatitovy Cirque, Rasvumchorr Plateau, Koashva and Njorkpahk.


More than 10.6 mt of apatite concentrate and 1.1 mt of nepheline concentrate were produced at the company’s beneficiation plants in 2021.


 

Products


Concentrates

products
High-grade phosphate rock

 

products
Syenite alkali aluminium concentrate

 

products
Nepheline concentrate

 

Investment program

The key focus areas of Apatit’s Kirovsk Branch investment programme are developing its resource base, processing capacities and production infrastructure facilities and ensuring industrial and environmental safety. The company is actively running a digitalisation programme. For example, a modern transport operations control centre for support service vehicles was rolled out jointly with Samoilov Scientific Research Institute for Fertilizers and Insectofungicides. Total investment in the development of mining and processing capacities for the last five years exceeded RUB 53 billion.

Mining


2021

Despite the pandemic, the Kirovsk Branch of Apatit continued the implementation of investment projects to expand mining and beneficiation capacities, the key ones being aimed at developing the plant’s ore and raw material base. In 2021, extensive preparations took place at the Kirovsky mine to launch the new +10 m level, which was commissioned in 1Q 2022.

At the Vostochny mine, transport infrastructure development was a priority in 2021. In particular, the Rudnaya railway station was reconstructed, its throughput going up by 20%, and three newly acquired Caterpillar mining dump trucks were deployed, each with a capacity of 180 tonnes. The development of the Rasvumchorr mine continued in 2021, reaching a milestone of 250 mt in ore output.

2020

At the Kirovsky mine, main shaft No. 1 was re-equipped and commissioned, resulting in a 63% output increase from 1.9 to 3 mtpa. Furthermore, the Kirovsky mine output is expected to reach 25 mtpa in five years.

At the Rasvumchorr mine, a maintenance and repair centre for self-propelled machinery was opened. A special room was set up underground at the +310 m level, which enabled maintenance and repairs without the need to surface the machinery.

2017

To increase the supply of fresh air to the lower horizons of underground mines, in 2017 we launched main ventilation fans in the western service shaft of Kirovsky Mine and the VS-1 and VS-2 shafts of Rasvumchorrsky Mine. The air supplied to the mine is heated using gas-powered heating units.

Investment in the project stands at RUB 1.5 billion.

2015

The main shaft No. 2 (GS-2) equipped with two skips (self-unloaders) with a capacity of 45 t was put into operation after an overhaul at the Kirovsk mine in August 2015. From the engineering perspective, it is a highly complex underground crusher and above-ground mining facility designed to deliver ore from the underground facility to the surface from a depth of about 350 m. The launch of GS-2 enabled us to replace retired capacities and boost the mine’s production from 14 to 22 mtpa.

Total investment in the project exceeded RUB 12 billion.

Mining


Stripping and mine development preparations, +10 m at the Kirovsky mine:
The project is primarily aimed at ramping up mining capacity and streamlining transportation at the Kirovsky mine. By 2028, the maximum output for the level is expected to reach 9.4 mt in accordance with PhosAgro’s ore and raw material base development programme. Ultimately, two start-up facilities will come on stream. The project includes the construction of two crushing and delivery units for ore drawing, a haulage level and a water drainage, Kirovsky mine’s ventilation system elaboration, as well as further level development to 2035.

The first ore from the Kirovsky mine’s +10 m level was drawn in 1Q 2022, with the annual output expected to amount to 1.3 mt in 2022, 2.7 mt in 2023 and 9.4 mt in 2028.

In 2023, PhosAgro plans to put into operation a crushing and delivery unit and an additional ore drawing capacity at the Yukspor deposit. The reserves to be mined will total over 300 mt until 2035.


Open pit ore output increase, Koashva and Njorkpahk deposits:
The project is focused on intensified open-pit mining, with mining and transportation equipment purchases to boost the Koashva and Njorkpahk deposits’ output for the planned period, relocation of infrastructure facilities, and expansion of the beneficiation plant’s production capacity.

As a result, the Koashva and Njorkpahk deposits’ output will grow to 7 mt by 2030 and 3 mt by 2020, respectively.


Beneficiation


ANBP-2

Starting 2019 and until early 2022, PhosAgro was upgrading the phosphate rock filtration system at ANBP-2, with new ceramic filters put in place. The project seeks to reduce cake moisture, grow drying capacity, and cut fuel oil and electricity spending.

The investment exceeded RUB 500 mln.

ANBP-3

During 2019–2021, fine crushing at ANBP-3 was improved. As part of the upgrade, modern and efficient equipment was installed — Sandvik CH865 crushers, which are going to reduce the ore size from 30 to 18 mm and make further crushing more efficient. Going forward, PhosAgro plans to continue streamlining fine crushing.

The investment totalled some RUB 1 bln. In 2022, PhosAgro plans to complete the modernisation of fine crushing and commission the eighth CH865 crusher.

In 2020–2022, a project to re-equip the tailings hydrotransport and storage system for an ANBP-3 tailings storage facility has been underway to meet waste storage regulations amid rising output rates. The investment totalled over RUB 1.6 bln. The project is scheduled to complete in 2H 2022.

Mining

Kirovsky mine

To provide underground mining operations with better ventilation, the facility development programme to 2023 specifies the construction of two air heating and ventilation units with an accumulated capacity of 1,300 m3/sec. In 2020, the re-equipment of the underground “lungs” — VS-1 and SVS-1, 2 — began at the Kirovsky mine as part of an investment project involving stripping and preparations for the development of the mine’s +10 m level.

In 2021, the project to mine the block pillar under the Saami pit and the Loparskaya River and build structures to divert the Loparskaya River and the Gakman Stream was launched. The main goal of the project is to maintain the Kirovsky mine’s annual output in accordance with the approved plan of PhosAgro’s ore and raw material base development, extract protective pillar reserves under the Saami pit, and restrain water inflows to the Kirovsky mine’s workings. The project will engage balance reserves of 54.4 mt (for 2028–2035) and curb water inflow to the underground mine by some 35% (reduced water drainage costs and capital expenditures on the construction of drainage facilities at the Kirovsky mine).


Vostochny mine

Next steps in a large-scale project at the Vostochny mine aimed at purchasing mining and transport equipment to bolster the capacity of the Koashva and Njorkpahk open pits


Apatite-nepheline beneficiation plant No. 3 (ANBP-3)

Development of the ore and raw material base of Apatit’s Kirovsk Branch includes ramping up phosphate rock production capacity at ANBP-3 to 10.0–10.5 mtpa