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PhosAgro Begins Operations at Kirovsky Mine’s +10 m Level

02.04.2024 | News

The Kirovsk branch of Apatit (PhosAgro Group) has begun operations at its +10 m mining level at its Kirovsky mine.

The project got under way in 2015. It was necessary in order to replace the output of other mining levels being decommissioned at a time when the life of the mine had been extended and, as a result, the Company had to increase the production of apatite-nepheline ore.

The Kirovsky mine, the largest and oldest mine at the Kirovsk branch of Apatit, has been in operation since 1929. It is developing the Kukisvumchorr and Yukspor deposits, which have an annual capacity of more than 23 million tonnes of ore. The Kirovsky mine has over 380 km of underground roads, which is three times the length of St Petersburg’s metro lines.

The ceremony to mark the commissioning of the new mining level was attended by Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District; Alexey Chekunkov, Minister of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic; Andrey Chibis, Governor of the Murmansk region; Mikhail Rybnikov, CEO of PhosAgro; and Andrey Abrashitov, Director of the Kirovsk branch of Apatit.

“First of all, I would like to thank everyone who made this project possible: the builders, the Company’s workers and the Company’s management, who made the investment decision. This new level will provide the mine with many more years of reserves; its capacity is growing, as is production. In addition, the community is developing thanks to the Kirovsk branch of Apatit. The city of Kirovsk itself is growing. The ore mined here serves as raw materials for the production of PhosAgro fertilizers, which are exported to 100 countries around the world,” said Minister Trutnev.

“This is a landmark project for the Murmansk region. The new level will provide 300 million tonnes of ore reserves. This means the site will remain alive and will continue to develop. Of course, I would like offer words of thanks to the workforce – to the two thousand people who were involved in this effort – and my deepest gratitude to our partners, PhosAgro, which, in the context of our agreements, is investing not only in the development of production but also in the development of the community. I would like to wish everyone success, and I hope the project yields as much ore as the industry needs,” said Governor Chibis.

The head of the region noted that PhosAgro takes a very serious approach to the development of the plant’s ore reserves and is investing heavily in the plant’s development, thereby ensuring stable production growth.

Some 2,000 PhosAgro specialists and more than 50 contractors were involved in assembly works and preparation of the site for operation. The site uses the latest technologies and technical solutions – notably, ballastless tracks, high-capacity rolling stock, state-of-the-art crushing and delivery equipment, which ensures the specified capacity of the continuous handling system in each wing of the level, as well as materials and technologies that increase the service life of the level’s structures.

The first phase of the investment project – the start of the testing of crushing and delivery system No. 1 and of the locomotive haulage system in the Kukisvumchorr wing of the +10 m level – was completed in early February 2022. The second phase of the construction of the new level was completed in October 2023, when the project’s first apatite-nepheline ore was mined at the Yukspor deposit

“Today we begin a new chapter in the glorious labour history of the Kirovsky mine – our company’s oldest mine and one of the five largest underground mines in the world,” said Mr Abrashitov during the commissioning ceremony. “I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to everyone who took part in making in this project a reality. This major construction project is clear evidence of PhosAgro’s concern for developing its ore reserves, for ensuring the efficient use of subsoil resources and for creating a reliable raw material base for the industry.”

More than RUB 36 billion has been invested in the project, which will bring the total amount of apatite-nepheline ore reserves to be mined to around 300 million tonnes. In the future, the new level will help increase the amount of ore mined at the Kirovsky mine to 25 million tonnes by 2025. The level’s capacity is expected to reach 9.4 million tonnes per year by 2028. When its design capacity is reached, the +10 m level will account for 36% of the ore mined at the Kirovsky mine.

“In 2023, we invested a record amount – more than RUB 64 billion – in the development and modernisation of our production facilities. This year we plan to raise this bar by another 13%, to RUB 73 billion. In accordance with our comprehensive development strategy to 2025, these funds will be used both to develop our unique ore reserves and to expand and modernise the capacities of our production sites, which manufacture 58 brands of mineral fertilizers that are in demand among Russian farmers and in 100 countries on every inhabited continent,” said Mr Rybnikov, PhosAgro’s CEO. “A considerable portion of these funds will be utilised here in Kirovsk. For example, the construction of a new mine for the development of the Rasvumchorr Plateau field has already begun. The total amount of capital investments in this project will be about RUB 38 billion. In addition, we plan to start underground mining in the Gakman section of the Kirovsky mine’s Yukspor deposit late this year.”


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