Moscow – PhosAgro (Moscow Exchange, LSE: PHOR), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated phosphate-based fertilizer producers, has commissioned Main Shaft No.2 at Apatit JSC’s Kirov mine.
The commissioning ceremony for Main Shaft No. 2 was attended by Governor of the Murmansk region Marina Kovtun, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of PhosAgro and Vice-President of the Russian Union of Chemists Andrey Guryev, CEO of PhosAgro-Cherepovets Mikhail Rybnikov, CEO of Apatit Vladimir Davydenko, as well as management and employees of the Kirov mine and PhosAgro Group employees from Cherepovets, Balakovo and Volkhov chemical plants.
Kirov mine’s Main Shaft No. 2 is a sophisticated underground crushing complex and shaft head complex that delivers ore from the underground mine to the surface from a depth of approximately 350 meters.
The most time-consuming and costly element of the project was the mine footage works, which began in 1999. The mining department spent several years of hard work, to bore deep in the mountains a cavern the size of a seven-storey building (20 metres in height) for the delivery of equipment and other functions: unloading skips, haulage, cleaning up spillage, etc. The cavern is situated at between 68 meters and 90 meters in the mountain. Overall, objects of the crushing complex stretch from -24 meters to 90 meters.
The above-ground complex consists of the shaft head building, the conveyor gallery and the loading hopper building. The shaft head building contains the unloading complex and the winding machine. The two 50-tonne skips are the first ever to be used at Apatit (Main Shaft No. 1 uses 14-tonne skips). Ore will be transported up on these skips from a depth of 300m. The conveyer gallery contains conveyers for transporting ore to the loading hoppers, which will be used to load rail dump-cars. The construction of the underground shafts included more than excavation work: Tippers, crushers, blasting leads and loading hoppers were all moved into place through a specially-dug shaft. In addition, water, air and electric supply systems were built as part of the mine – the mine is ventilated, water is pumped out, and elevator shafts have been equipped with elevators.
Apatit CEO Vladimir Davydenko said: “Everyone worked well to make this happen. Main Shaft 2 is the most progressive of its kind in Russia, using the very latest technology. We see scope for future development through the increase of ore production. The perfect blend of youth, experience and ambition will allow us to achieve our goals, and continually to strive towards new horizons.”
PhosAgro-Cherepovets CEO Mikhail Rybnikov said: “The launch of production at Main Shaft No. 2, which has a nameplate capacity of 8 million tonnes of ore per year, will enable us both to compensate for capacities that are being shut down and to increase the capacity of the Kirovskiy mine from 13 million tonnes to 16.5 million tonnes of apatite-nepheline ore per year. Total investments in Main Shaft No. 2 amounted to over RUB 13 billion.”
PhosAgro Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors and Vice-President of the Russian Union of Chemists Andrey Guryev said: “I am very happy to see that the goals PhosAgro and Apatit set before themselves are being successfully implemented. This is thanks to the excellent employees. PhosAgro’s employees are its greatest asset. In the past two years this company has seen significant changes in staff makeup, with a team of young, creative people implementing major production programmes. The advances achieved in recent years include completion of work on Main Shaft No. 2 and commissioning of new capacities that will make it possible to increase phosphate rock production for Russian fertilizer producers. And with fertilizers we can ensure the country’s food security.
Murmansk region Governor Marina Kovtun said: “Today we are witnessing the start of a new chapter in Apatit’s history. The completion of this project will not only replace old capacities – it will also enable the enterprise to increase ore production. This means that fertilizer producers can be assured they will have timely access to raw materials, which enables agricultural producers to receive high-quality fertilizers for many years to come. Guaranteed fertilizer supplies will make it easier to undertake import substitution programmes.”