EuroChem Usolskiy project drives ahead with first KCl test production

EuroChem Group AG, the leading global fertiliser company, announces the successful test production of potassium chloride at EuroChem-Usolskiy Potash in the Perm region, Russia. This initial production is an integral part of the commissioning process currently underway at Usolskiy. Production of first marketable product is expected during the second quarter of 2018, as previously guided.

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 Mt of MOP. Eight Ural-20R continuous mining machines are working underground at Usolskiy, which is expected to employ about 2,000 people once production is fully underway. These machine are manufactured by Russia’s Kopeysk Machine Building Plant in Chelyabinsk and are the mainstay of potash mining machinery in Russia. The mining combines are lowered in segments with a final assembly made underground in the mine’s workshops. One unit is capable of mining approximately 600,000 t of potash per year. The mine plan ultimately will use as many as 20 machines or more at one time at the ore face.

Dmitry Strezhnev, EuroChem CEO, commented: “The test production of MOP means we have come closer to the start of regular production at Usolskiy, which has been a substantial and complex greenfield project. We are now focused on completing commissioning and ramping up to commercial production, targeting about 450,000 t of finished product before the end of the year.”

EuroChem is mining sections of the Verkhnekamskoe potash deposit in the Perm region, one of the largest in the world. As well as the Usolskiy Potash project, EuroChem holds a licence to develop the Gremyachinskoe deposit in the Volgograd region of Russia, known as the VolgaKaliy potash project. Development at VolgaKaliy continues and first production of marketable product is expected later this year. To date, EuroChem has invested about $4.13 billion in the two projects, of which Usolskiy has accounted for $1.81 billion.