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NWPC Obtains State Approval of Oleniy Ruchey Mine Design

North-Western Phosphorous Company (NWPC) has received technical and environmental approval of the design for its Oleniy Ruchey apatite-nepheline ore mine. On September 30, 2008, the Central Expert Examination Authority (a federal regulatory authority) confirmed that the design is in compliance with statutory engineering requirements. State experts also concluded that the findings of the engineering survey comply with statutory technical requirements.
NWPC’s management forwarded letters of gratitude to all organisations that contributed to the design’s development, including Giproruda Institute (St. Petersburg), the project’s general designer; Mekhanobr Engineering (St. Petersburg), the Mining Institute of the Kolsky Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Apatity), the Federal State Institution of the All-Russia Nature Protection Research Institute (Moscow), the Murmansk Geological Expedition (Apatity), Murmansk Trust of Engineering and Construction Surveys (Murmansk), Lengiprotrans (St. Petersburg) and SZMA Company (St. Petersburg) for their enormous contribution to achieving all of NWPC’s goals on time. The letter stated that “[t]he large scale work performed speaks to the designers’ incredible intellectual potential. Despite the fact that they have not developed such large projects for a long time, they managed to rally their forces and also engage in forward-looking creative thinking, visualizing the new mine’s operation for the next several decades.”
Exactly three years ago, on October 4, 2005, NWPC officially declared its intention to build a mine at the Oleniy Ruchey apatite-nepheline ore deposit in the Murmansk region. Yury Yevdokimov, the Murmansk region governor, attended the project presentation and supported the idea of establishing a new enterprise that would create new jobs and bring in considerable tax revenues.
The project has been huge and systematic, and NWPC has always managed to retain control over the many stages of project implementation. During the first stage, the Company performed a feasibility study on apatite-nepheline ore mining and processing at the Oleniy Ruchey deposit, won the state tender and obtained a state subsoil license. In the second stage, NWPC secured the preliminary land allotment, built a road to the future mine and carried out engineering, construction and environmental surveys at the site. This work was followed by a blast to take ore technical samples, testing Oleniy Ruchey ore on pilot plant equipment belonging to the Mining Institute of the Kolsky Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and production of the first lots of apatite-nepheline concentrate. The Company also conducted a survey of ground water to support mine operations.
NWPC conducted a public hearing of the project and presented its Declaration of Intent, which was approved by the Murmansk regional inter-departmental commission on industrial siting. Finally, the Company finalized the design of the mine and obtained state approval. NWPC has entered into an Agreement on Social and Economic Cooperation with the Kirovsk administration to support the Koashva settlement (13 km away from the deposit) for 2008. Under the agreement the company contributed RUB 2 million to repair school and daycare facilities and will contribute another RUB 3 million by the end of the year for municipal housing maintenance.
Locals are looking forward to the third stage, which involves detailed design and construction of the mine. The new mine will bring new opportunities, new jobs, advancement, tax revenues and solutions to social and economic issues. Producers of mineral fertilizers who currently lack their own phosphates supplies are also welcoming the new complex. Acron’s employees are confident that guaranteed supplies of apatite concentrate from NWPC will ensure continuous operations and a degree of security from the turmoil in the market.
NWPC is ready to commence construction and financing and is only waiting for approval from local authorities. Unfortunately, the Kirovsk administration has been coordinating its actions with the local monopoly JSC Apatit, which in practice has resulted in obstacles for NWPC and delays in obtaining approvals. For example, NWPC has been unable to obtain approval to cross utilities owned by Apatit on a stretch of a municipal road leased by the monopoly. Apatit has even sued to cancel the permit granted to NWPC for use of the leased road section. NWPC is confident that the court will rule fairly. In any event, Apatit’s destructive behavior will not affect NWPC’s principal objective, since the company can build the mine even if it has to build its own bypass road.
As a law abiding company, NWPC puts complete faith in the prudence and foresight of authorities and is sure of its project’s success. Given the important role of a new key employer in the area’s economy, NWPC expects to receive approval for construction in the near future. On October 08, Acron President Ivan Antonov and NWPC leadership will hold a meeting with the Murmansk region’s Yevdokimov and the Kirovsk city administration to negotiate further actions by NWPC to implement the project. The meeting is expected to see the signing of the Agreement on social and economic cooperation.