Novgorod-based Acron started construction of a new UAN (liquid nitrogen fertiliser urea-ammonium nitrate) unit at its site in 2006 and brought the 500-ktpa unit on stream in late 2007. In subsequent years, that capacity was repeatedly increased: to 750 ktpa in 2012, to 1.0 mtpa in 2014 and further to 1.1 mtpa in 2016. In 2016, Novgorod-based Acron produced its 5 millionth tonne of UAN.
All told, Acron invested approximately USD 27 million in the project.
Urea Unit (Urea-1000)
The Company initiated construction of a new 350-ktpa urea unit (fifth unit) at its Novgorod site in 2008 and commissioned the unit in 2012.
By 2016, the fifth unit of the urea shop had produced 1.0 million tonnes of high-quality urea.
The total investment in the project was USD 100 million.
This unit brought aggregate urea capacity at the Novgorod-based Acron facility to 800 ktpa from 450 ktpa. The Company plans to eventually boost urea capacity to 1.0 mtpa.
AS BCT Port Terminal Complex (Estonia)
Construction of the port terminal facility for transshipment of liquid fertilisers (UAN and ammonia) at the Estonian port of Sillamäe started in 2006. In 2008, the terminal loaded its first vessel with Acron’s UAN, and the first ammonia was loaded in late 2009. The terminal has throughput capacity of 1.0 mtpa of UAN and 1.0 mtpa of ammonia.
The total investment in the project was USD 100 million.
Oleniy Ruchey Mine
In 2006, Acron subsidiary North-Western Phosphorous Company obtained a licence to develop the apatite-nepheline ore at the Oleniy Ruchey deposit in Murmansk region. This project is part of Acron Group’s drive to vertically integrate production of the phosphates required for NPK fertilisers.
This large-scale mine project was implemented through development of an open pit and an underground mine. Mine construction began in 2010 after completion of exploration and design work. In late 2012, the Company started producing apatite concentrate. In mid-2014, output reached the design capacity of 1.0 mtpa while the Company consumed the open pit ore. In 2015, the Oleniy Ruchey mine produced more than 1.1 million tonnes of apatite concentrate. Over 90% of the output was sold domestically, including to Acron Group companies.
Ore extraction from the underground mine started in 2017. Over the next several years, the Company plans to gradually increase the mine’s output to 2.0 mtpa of apatite concentrate.
The deposit’s lifetime is estimated at over 50 years.
The total investment in the project will reach USD 1.1 billion, including the USD 900 million already spent.
Construction of Dome-Shaped Warehouses at AS DBT Terminal Complex
In summer 2012, DBT began construction of three new dome-shaped warehouses at its terminal complex under the DBT-V investment project. The up to 27,000-tonne warehouse capacity was commissioned in September 2013, resulting in a simultaneous warehouse capacity increase to 192,000 tonnes of bulk mineral fertilisers. With the new warehouses in service, DBT expanded the range and variety of transshipped cargoes it handles while ensuring quality and safety with separate storage.
The Company invested a total of EUR 11 million in this project.
Ammonia Unit (Ammonia-4)
In 2014, Novgorod-based Acron entered the active phase of construction of a new large-capacity ammonia unit at its site. The unit was commissioned in 2016. Its initial design capacity was 700 ktpa, but in 2017, the unit’s capacity reached 780 ktpa. Ammonia-4 is the most powerful and cost-effective operating unit in Russia.
The project is unique because it is the first ammonia unit since the breakup of the Soviet Union to be constructed by Russian experts without outsourcing workforce. The design documentation was drafted by the Russian design institute Novgorodsky GIAP.
Project investments totalled USD 500 million.
Rare Earth Elements
Acron Group has completed a unique project involving apatite-nepheline ore processing to derive the rare earth elements cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, and light and heavy REE group concentrates from process streams of apatite concentrate. These operations are performed as a part of the sub-programme Rare and Rare-earth Metal Technologies of the Russian government programme to promote Industry Development and Competitive Growth. Currently, Acron has the only operations in Russia that separate REE concentrates into elements in industrial-scale volumes.
The project was launched in 2010. Apatite concentrate from the Oleniy Ruchey mine in Murmansk region provides the raw material base for the process. This marks the first time that complex processing of apatite ores has been achieved in Russia. The annual capacity of REE operations is 200 tonnes of rare earth oxides. In 2015, the first 20 tonnes of products were shipped to consumers.
At this stage, all of the finished products are shipped to the domestic market for use in glass production, as catalysts for oil cracking and in the rubber industry. REE are also used to manufacture alloys, magnets, and electronics, as well as by the defence industry. The goal of this project is to create an independent base in Russia for rare-earth products. The project was overseen by the Science and Engineering Board on Rare Earths, headed by Academy of Sciences member Nikolay Laverov.
In 2008, Acron subsidiary Verkhnekamsk Potash Company obtained a licence to explore and develop the Talitsky area of the Verkhnekamsk potassium-magnesium salt deposit in Perm Krai. The project is part of Acron Group’s vertical integration drive to create an independent potassium base for NPK fertilisers.
In 2008-2011, the Company conducted research and geological exploration in the Talitsky area. In 2012, VPC obtained Glavgosexpertiza approval for the first stage of project documentation: shaft construction. In November 2012, VPC obtained construction approval and commenced preparations to construct skip and cage shafts. In 2013, the Company finished drilling freezing holes for subsequent shaft sinking. In 2014, VPC completed assembly of the equipment for the freezing plant, commissioned the administrative building and launched the main step-down substation. In 2015, the Company obtained Glavgosexpertiza approval for the Talitsky mine’s second stage: the underground mine. In 2016, approval was given for the project’s third stage: construction of surface facilities. Additionally, in 2016 the subsoil licence for the Talitsky area was amended to extend the licence term to 2053.
The Talitsky mine has design capacity of 2.0 mtpa of potassium chloride with further expansion to 2.6 mtpa. Investment in the project totals approximately USD 2.7 billion (including the cost of the licence).