Our Kovdorskiy GOK integrated mining and processing facility underpins our phosphate production chain. Boasting a P2O5 content of between 37% and 38% with very low cadmium content, it is also the only phosphate mine in the world to be blessed with iron ore and baddeleyite embedded in the same deposit. In 2015, we produced 2.4 MMT of apatite concentrate and 5.7 MMT of iron ore concentrate and 8,500 tonnes of baddeleyite concentrate as co-products. While providing a considerable credit to our apatite costs, these co-products also provide a hedge against fertilizer price volatility.
However, our apatite production, in its current configuration from Kovdorskiy-GOK, is at full capacity and unable to fully cover EuroChem’s own feedstock requirements. While we are proceeding with the development of phosphate rock mining capacity in neighbouring Kazakhstan to assist us with our feedstock needs, we are also taking steps to significantly increase Kovdorskiy GOK’s capacity by both pushing back the current open pit limits as well as developing a new area adjacent to the existing open pit which contains a mineral combination of apatite/ staffelite and simultaneously bringing incremental beneficiation capacity online.
As part of our open-pit pushback programme we have developed mine plans and schedules which encompass several development phases.
We completed the first phase of our expansion project by increasing beneficiation capacity from 15 MMT to 18 MMT of magnetite-apatite ore. The next phase will see capacity expanded to 20 MMT of ore by 2018.
A third phase, which could possibly bring capacity to as much as 25 MMT per year, is currently being reviewed together with several initiatives to improve transportation costs and conveyance costs of overburden and ore to the mill as well as improving overall maintenance costs and reliability.