Berezniki, Russia, March 23, 2018 – Switzerland’s Ambassador to Moscow, Yves Rossier, paid a visit to EuroChem’s new Usolskiy Potash mine this week, praising the company’s “huge” investment and joking about the depth of the mine.
Having descended into a potash mine for the first time in his political career, Mr Rossier laughed: “Now I can say I’m the deepest ambassador in Russia!”
Kitted out in safety gear and standing in front of the spectacular tiger-fur colored mineral deposit, Mr Rossier said, however, that the $1.8 billion that EuroChem had invested in the greenfield project was a world-scale commitment: “The investment that the company has made here is definitely huge.”
“The (Swiss) Embassy, like every embassy, does what it can to help along the investment of Swiss companies in Russia,” he added.
EuroChem Group has its global headquarters in Zug, Switzerland, with R&D, mining and logistics operations all over the world.
Earlier this month the group announced the successful test production of potassium chloride at Usolskiy, a landmark moment for EuroChem as it becomes one of only three global companies to produce fertilizers in all three nutrient categories.
“We have produced the first tonne of potash, the serious work has been done, and this is something we are really proud of,” said Alexei Shein, the executive director of the plant.
The initial production at Usolskiy is an integral part of the commissioning process. Production of the first marketable product is expected during the second quarter of 2018.
Potassium chloride, also known as Muriate of Potash or MOP, is the most commonly used potash fertilizer in agriculture.
Once fully operational, Usolskiy’s Phase 1 will have a total annual production capacity of 2.3 million metric tonnes of MOP. Eight continuous mining machines are working underground at Usolskiy, which is expected to employ about 2,000 people once production is fully underway.