On September 25 CJSC North-West Phosphorous Company Board of Directors and JSC Acron Managing Board held a joint visiting session in Apatity to discuss progress in constructing a new integrated mining and processing plant.
The meeting was attended by Governor of the Smolensk region Viktor Maslov, First Deputy Governor of the Novgorod region Anatoly Zyablitsky, the head of the Industry and Transport Department of the Murmansk regional administration Petr Prints, the mayors of Kirovsk and Apatity, and representatives of the general designer JSC Giproruda and other engineering and research organisations, including construction firms.
In his opening remarks, Acron President and Chairman of the NWPC Board of Directors Ivan Antonov emphasized the importance of rapidly completing the new plant to supply phosphate rock to the holding’s facilities - JSC Acron in Veliky Novgorod and JSC Dorogobuzh in the Smolensk region.
NWPC Director General and Acron Vice President for mining and chemical development Sergey Fedorov reported on progress since the subsoil licence was obtained in November 2006:
“We have accomplished all the first-year tasks. In particular, we built a road to the production site and mine so that the Murmansk Group of Engineering and Construction Surveys could start their work. Their findings will enable the general designers to work on the project over the winter and spring of 2007-2008, followed by a project appraisal next summer.
On September 21, we detonated the first coyote blast at the deposited mine and got 1,500 tonnes of ore to proceed with pilot examinations. We are working in cooperation with Apatit and CJSC FosAgro to speed up the surface stripping.
Earlier, we reached an agreement with CJSC FosAgro AG to use Apatit’s ANOF-3 facility for laboratory and pilot tests of the ore deposited at Oleniy Ruchey to assess beneficiation indices. NWPC requested this testing from FosAgro when it proposed joint processing the nepheline ore from the new facility. Cooperation with FosAgro will be beneficial for both companies and the economy of the region. NWPC has completed its obligations under this agreement, and the ore from Oleniy Ruchey can be shipped to ANOF-3 any time.”
Fedorov underscored that if FosAgro is serious about the partnership, NWPC is ready to sign a contract.
NWPC First Deputy Director General, Technical Director Mikhail Gusev reported on construction progress at the integrated mining and processing plant. He described the structure of contract relations with designers and research organisations, and described the project’s engineering solutions that will create a cutting-edge production facility.
Head of the Transportation Department Aleksandr Dmitriev informed the meeting about transport infrastructure. Shipment volumes are tentatively estimated at 2.5 million tpa and 5 million tpa, after launching the first and the second stages of the processing integrated plant, respectively. To handle shipments, a motorway is planned to connect the production site with Koashva village and a rail line will run from the production site to Titan station. Leading designer Lengiprotrans (St. Petersburg) is in charge of the motorway project and the feasibility study for the rail line. In order to speed up commissioning of the integrated processing plant, during the first project stage trucks will be used to carry apaptite concentrate from the production site to Titan railway station. This plan was supported at the meeting of NWPC leadership with representatives of federal executive agencies in Murmansk, experts from the Murmansk Avtodor central administration, Murmansk transport inspection and Murmansk regional sate traffic safety inspectorate, and was approved by JSC Russian Railways and Oktyabrskaya Railway.
NWPC Deputy Director General and head of the company’s subdivision in Apatity Sergey Frolov reported on NWPC involvement in the social and economic development of the region. He focused primarily on creating new jobs, training for personnel operating the new plant’s advanced equipment, and supporting an economic revival in Koashva village near Oleniy Ruchey.
Petr Prints told the meeting that the NWPC project is one of the three major projects in the area, along with reconstruction of the Murmansk traffic hub and development of the Shtokmanovsk gas condensate field. “We encourage such projects, as they attract investments of RUB 11.5 billion and create more than 4,000 new jobs. NWPC will always have a green light for their project.”
Nikolay Melnikov, director of the mining institute of the Kola research center at the Russian Academy of Sciences, explained why the NWPC initiative should be considered a 21st century project: “Its main advantage is the ore processing facility.”
Compared with bulky existing processing complexes, the NWPC facility will be a lightweight factory with new equipment, computers and reagent modes.
The Smolensk Governor and Novgorod Vice Governor discussed the importance of creating an independent raw material base to ensure smooth and steady operation at Acron’s facilities located in their regions. Furthermore, they suggested establishing a governors’ club to address pressing issues arising between companies in the regions.
Murmansk Regional Governor Yuri Yevdokimov, who was late to join the meeting because of a conference call, also approved the initiative.
After listening to all the participants of the meeting and making sure that the project is adhering to its timeline, Ivan Antonov stated with confidence that the first stage of the new integrated plant can be completed as early as 2011, two years earlier than stated in the license agreement.
Later that day NWPC officers and guests, including Yevgeny Kamenev, who discovered the Oleniy Ruchey deposit, visited the integrated plant’s production site. They travelled to the site on the new road and observed the many drill units and survey specialists at work. Those who wished had a chance to look at the mine and the first ore extracted. A ceremony was held People held a rally to mark a memorial opening at the site of the would-be integrated plant symbolizing the beginning of the deposit development.