Tag Archives: apatite

PhosAgro to up renewable energy contribution at apatit mining and beneficiation plant

PhosAgro is to increase the use of renewable energy for production of agrochemical products from 2021 after the Apatit mining and beneficiation plant, the Kirov branch of JSC Apatit, signed a contract for the supply of hydroelectric power with TGC-1.

The 100 MW of contracted hydropower means more than 60% of the beneficiation plant’s output will be produced using ‘green’ electricity, PhosAgro said.

In December 2020, PhosAgro’s Board of Directors approved a climate strategy, with the core element an aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including indirect emissions that are generated during the production of electricity consumed by the company’s production facilities.

“As part of this climate strategy, a low-carbon transition plan has been adopted, which includes technical, technological and organisational measures that are being developed and implemented,” the company says.

PhosAgro CEO, Andrey Guryev, said: “Switching to hydroelectric power is another step towards achieving our goal of reducing indirect greenhouse gas emissions. This is important for us, both in terms of reducing the carbon footprint of our products and in terms of increasing their appeal for foreign markets, which are traditionally sensitive to environmental issues.”

PhosAgro says it actively implements energy-efficient green technologies at its enterprises. This includes employing frequency converters in production complexes, which reduce the power consumed by electric motors and energy loss when starting engines.

The company is also undertaking a major project in the field of energy efficiency in constructing a number heat energy converters to generate electricity at sulphuric acid plants. Thanks to this, the company’s chemical production facilities in Cherepovets and Balakovo generate 60-80% of the energy they require on site. A similar power plant is currently being planned and designed for construction in Volkhov as part of an investment project to build a new production facility there.

In 2020, PhosAgro launched a project on the use of renewable energy sources in industrial and social facilities.

The first pilot site was the corporate hotel complex Izumrud in the town of Balakovo. Its first solar power plant, with a capacity of 25 kW, has already been installed. In the spring of 2021, additional panels will be installed at the Izumrud complex, which will increase the system’s total power output to 45 kW. Moreover, there are plans to test this technology in the production conditions of the company’s Balakovo production site.

Aside from this, LED lighting is also widely used at the group’s enterprises, which has reduced lighting costs by 2-2.5 times, as well as the carbon footprint of the company’s finished products. Last year, apatite-nepheline processing plant No.3 (ANOF-3) transferred to energy-efficient lighting, and, in 2021, a similar project will be implemented at ANOF-2.

Eurobattery Minerals and Uppsala University to continue battery minerals extraction work

Eurobattery Minerals AB, a mining and exploration company with a vision to help Europe become self-sufficient in ethically-sourced battery minerals, has announced an extension of its ongoing collaboration with Uppsala University, in Sweden.

The company has supported the university in its application to the Swedish innovation agency, Vinnova, for a project that focuses on new and modern methods of extracting rare earth elements (REE) from the shales in Fetsjön and other apatite-rich discoveries in Sweden.

As part of this project, Eurobattery Minerals will provide both mineralised samples from Fetsjön, as well as financial funding, it said. Vinnova is expected to announce its decision at the beginning of spring 2021.

Scientists from the Department of Earth Sciences at Uppsala University have figured out an efficient way of extracting REE from phosphates typically located in black shales, such as in Fetsjön, according to Eurobattery Minerals. The next step is to create a small experimental plant and run university-led REE beneficiation experiments on a larger scale.

“We are thrilled to continue to support the scientists at Uppsala University,” Roberto García Martínez, CEO of Eurobattery Minerals, said. “In Fetsjön, we know from previous comprehensive drilling and analyses that the REE level in the black shales is high. As critical components to the electric revolution, we are interested in finding efficient and sustainable methods to obtain those minerals from our projects.”

The project is headed by Dr Jaroslaw Majka, Associate Professor in Metamorphic Petrology at the Department of Earth Sciences at Uppsala University.

Dr Majka said: “We are excited about the possibility to conduct larger-scale testing of this new industrialised method for extracting rare earth elements. We believe that it will enable more efficient and sustainable extraction of these key components in electric vehicles and other battery-run equipment.”

LKAB plots path for fossil-free industrial mine waste recycling park

LKAB says it is planning a fossil-free industrial park for recycling mine waste and producing critical raw materials.

In the ReeMAP project, of which the aim is to develop technology for recycling mine waste, LKAB also plans to produce input materials, including hydrogen, and to electrify processes and, thereby, virtually eliminate carbon dioxide emissions in mine-waste recycling.

Ibrahim Baylan, Sweden’s Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation, comments: “LKAB continues to develop Sweden’s strengths as an innovative nation. ReeMAP is an important initiative to utilise today’s mine waste, leading to increased circularity and contributing to the green transition with both phosphorus and rare earth elements.”

ReeMAP will apply fossil-free processes for recycling mine waste (tailings) from LKAB’s iron ore production and upgrade it to phosphorus products and rare earth elements; products which, owing to import dependency and their economic importance, are classed by the EU as critical raw materials. In addition, gypsum and fluorine products will also be produced at the industrial park, through the hydro chemical processes.

As part of the ReeMAP project, LKAB has already started producing apatite concentrate from mine waste in a pilot plant.

A “pre-study” for the park is to be completed in 2021, with full production, following environmental permitting and construction, estimated to be achievable by 2027.

The planned recycling of mine waste will entail a circular business model and improve resource utilisation, since all valuable minerals will be extracted, according to LKAB. Residual mine waste will continue to be landfilled.

“Thanks to electrification, the process will be almost entirely free of carbon dioxide emissions,” the company said. “Certain minor emissions may arise, due to the release of chemically-bound carbon in apatite (bound in remnants of calcite mineralisation).”

Production of mineral fertiliser will result in a reduction of 700,000 t of carbon dioxide emissions (corresponding to 1% of Sweden’s emissions in 2019), as compared with the alternative of increasing production of mineral fertiliser using conventional technology, it said.

Leif Boström, Senior Vice President for LKAB’s Business Area Special Products, said the investment in the fossil-free industrial park amounted to several billion Swedish kronor.

“The industrial park will be a centre for chemical engineering where innovative technology is used to recover valuable resources,” he said. “Here, we will set a global standard for clean products, energy efficiency and emissions.”

LKAB said: “In agriculture, high crop yields are made possible by the addition of plant nutrients in the form of phosphate fertiliser. As much as half of all agricultural production is dependent on fertilisers. The purity of the product is also important. For example, the phosphate fertiliser LKAB plans to produce will be free of cadmium, a hazardous substance which is contained in some of the material imported into the EU. Rare earth elements are used in many high-tech products, for example, permanent magnets for electric vehicles and wind turbines.”

ReeMAP’s Project Manager, Ulrika Håkansson, explains that several challenges related to technological development, localisation and industrialisation must be addressed.

“We will need up to 50 ha to accommodate our facilities,” Håkansson said. “A railway line and port access are also important, since we plan to ship as much as a million tonnes of product a year. Production, especially hydrogen production, will be energy intensive. We are now looking at all of these requirements and conditions for possible localisation in Luleå, Skellefteå and Helsingborg.”

Jan Moström, President and CEO for LKAB, explains the importance of ReeMAP for LKAB’s strategy and future: “We have an ambition to be one of the most innovative, resource-efficient and responsible mining companies in the world. Through our development projects SUM, HYBRIT and now ReeMAP, we have assumed a global leadership role for industrial transformation and to provide the world with tomorrow’s resources.”

The European Union is tomorrow launching the European Raw Materials Alliance with LKAB as a partner. The aim is to increase the union’s degree of self-sufficiency in critical raw materials. Initially, the alliance will focus on rare earth elements.

Via ReeMAP, LKAB will have potential to produce 30% of the current EU requirement for these materials, it says.