We currently have access to over 10 billion tonnes of potash reserves in two key deposits in Russia and are conducting geological work on other deposits to which we have secured mining rights. Once on stream, our two ongoing potash projects will have over 8.3 MMT KCI (5.0 MMT K2O) of capacity, which is equivalent to approximately 10% of current global supply. The development of potash capacity is one of our main strategic priorities. We are constructing mining and processing facilities at two locations in Russia; at the Gremyachinskoe deposit (EuroChem-VolgaKaliy, Volgograd region) and at the Verkhnekamskoe deposit (EuroChem Usolskiy, Perm region).
EuroChem-VolgaKaliy, Gremyachinskoe deposit (Volgograd region, Russia)
The Gremyachinskoe deposit is one of the four largest deposits of potassium ore in Russia and is characterized by a 10-meter thick potash layer with an average KCl content of 39.5%. EuroChem-VolgaKaliy has mining rights on more than 1.6 billion tonnes of reserves in the deposit, as per Russian classification.
Our investment in modern mining operations and ready access to our Tuapse transhipment port facility will provide us with unmatched cost advantages.
Status (Q2 2017)
At an average rate of approximately 2.5 to 3.0 meters per day at each of the three faces being mined underground, the excavation of the first phase horizontal drifts between the site’s two skip shafts progressed as scheduled. Close to 1,100 meters below the surface, the two skip shafts were successfully connected in early August. The lateral development includes the excavation of haulage ramps and drifts as well as ventilation and equipment assembly areas. One skip shaft supports these efforts, while the other is being readied for hoisting operations which will begin later this year.
On the surface, much of the first phase items are either complete, as is the case with the utilities main substation, or nearing completion, such as the beneficiation building, conveyor galleries and transfer towers, and crushing and thickeners units, to list a few. The beneficiation mill is expected to be ready to accept ore from the mining operations as early as February 2018 and begin initial circulation for commissioning procedures. As previously announced, first production is expected in mid-2018.
Cage shaft inflow
Six new freeze holes are operational, the first of which from early March, and supporting the development of an additional ice formation to reinforce the initial freeze wall around the shaft. In parallel, a temporary heating plant was installed and heating pipes were lowered in the shaft. This heating system serves to maintain the temperature of the accumulated water within the shaft above freezing level, while at the same time allowing a freeze wall to develop outside the shaft liner. Late in the second quarter, with temperature sensors and advanced acoustic testing confirming an accumulation of ice around the shaft, the site proceeded to remove some water. Water was successfully removed temporarily to a depth of -200 meters which validated the analysis of the freeze wall. Additional water volumes will be pumped as the integrity of the original freeze wall is re-established. EuroChem VolgaKaliy expects to resume cage shaft sinking operations in the second half of this year.