The expansion and modernization of the existing Berezniki-based OAO Uralkali production facilities will add 4.5 million tonnes of potassium chloride (KCl) per annum. The Ust-Yayvinsky and Polovodovsky projects include the construction of two new mines which, when they reach full capacity, will increase Uralkali’s potash production by 5.3 million tonnes of KCl per annum. The launch of new projects will make up for the gradually depleting ore reserves of the Berezniki-2 mine as well as increase potash production capacity.
In 2004, Uralkali, won the tender for the development of the Ust-Yayvinsky block and obtained a mining licence. The reserves of the block comprise approximately 1.3 bln tonnes of sylvinite ore, which will provide 30-35 years of the mine’s steady operation. In December 2011, Uralkali concluded a contract with “Deilmann Haniel Schachtostroi” for construction of the shafts for the Ust-Yayvinsky mine. The contract provides for the development of working documentation, construction of temporary facilities of the surface heading equipment, shafts sinking and infrastructure development. Last March, the company, which is Russia’s second largest producer of MOP and SOP, announced it had started preparatory works for mine construction within the framework of the Ust-Yayvinsky block development project at the Verkhnekamskoye deposit. The construction of the buildings and facilities for shaft sinking has started on the construction site. The construction of an electric power substation, which will supply electric energy to the industrial site, continues, as well as the construction of a diversion facility with water-pumping stations and water-storage tanks.
The construction of the surface complex at the Ust-Yayvinsky block will begin in 2015 and they expect to produce its first ore in 2020. It has been described as one of the largest and the most ambitious projects in the global potash industry. The mine will have two shafts – a 530-metre deep shaft with skip winding (for hoisting the ore) and a shaft with cage winding (for hoisting and descending workers and loads). The mined ore will be processed at the Berezniki-3 plant, where it will be transported by a 6.3 km long cable-belt conveyer. The geological characteristics of the deposit, such as shallow ore occurrence, ensure the relatively low level of capital costs. In mid-2011 the merger between Uralkali and Silvinit was completed and the company is Russia’s biggest fertilizer maker by market value. Uralkali assets consist of 5 mines and 8 ore-treatment mills situated in the towns of Berezniki and Solikamsk (Perm Territory, Russia) and they account for about a fifth of the global potash output.