Kirovsk, Russia
Kirovsk, Russia

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Kalugin A.I.,Apatit JSC | Pleshakov Y.V.,Apatit JSC | Gerasimova L.G.,RAS Institute of Chemistry | Nikolaev A.I.,RAS Institute of Chemistry
Gornyi Zhurnal | Year: 2014

New processes for treatment of sphene and nepheline concentrates obtained from apatite-nepheline ore concentration have been researched and tested. The resulting products are scarce functional materials, including mineral pigments; a complex titanium-aluminum leather tanning agent; sorbents based on hydrated titanium dioxide and titanium phosphates; nano-size titanium dioxide for protective and insulating materials such as coatings, glues and hermetics. The flow sheets incorporate recovery of solid and liquid wastes with ammonium potassium alums and pigment filler for the building and paint-and-varnish industries as by-products. The flow sheet for the tanning agent has been tested on a pilot scale. For the titanium-aluminum tanning agent, technical specifications and process procedures have been worked out for designing a plant with a capacity of 3000 t/yr in terms of sphene concentrate. The production profitability is 38% and the payoff period is 2.5 years. As sorbent, the hydrated titanium dioxide obtained from sphene concentrate is resistant to radiation and chemicals, including acid and alkali solutions. As ion-exchanger, it features an exchange rate meeting the requirements of column processes. Experimental batches of the sorbent have been tested on hyper-filtration of aqueous effluents contaminated with non-ferrous metal cations. Thermolysis of sulphate titanium salts has resulted in nano-size precursors that can be used to produce various hermetics, glues, and coatings. All the aforementioned developments for the production of tanning agents, sorbents, and glue and hermetic precursors are covered by RF patents.


Sakerin A.S.,Apatit JSC | Konstantinov D.O.,Apatit JSC | Kozyrev S.A.,Russian Academy of Sciences | Overchenko M.N.,Orica CIS CJSC
Gornyi Zhurnal | Year: 2014

The article informs on stage-wise introduction of emulsion explosives, loading equipment and blasting technologies to drivage and stoping operations in mines of Apatit JSC. Based on the analysis of the world's experience of use of emulsion explosives in underground mines and due to the absence of the related technologies in Russia, emulsion explosive manufactured by Orica CIS was selected as the basic explosive material inasmuch as its underground application is has pretty much been tried and tested, including loading of upward holes. Underground use of emulsion explosives on a large scale started in 2011 and by now Apatit has put into operation 15 mixing-and-charging units (including 9 units for loading upward holes and 6 units for down hole loading), 3 carriers of non-explosive ingredients of emulsion explosives and 4 removable cartridges, as a result of which application of emulsion explosives has made 72% of total amount of explosive materials used in underground drilling-and-blasting by 2013. Currently, the issues of loading and blasting of emulsion explosives are better solved in stoping with sublevel caving and frontal ore drawing, and in drivage. Large-scale breakage using emulsion explosives demonstrated their benefits as against standard explosives, too. In order to validate blasting technologies for drivage and stoping, mechanisms of gasification of Subtek-type emulsion explosives are defined, and thereupon their loading, initiation and blasting parameters are optimized. The optimum densities of loading and the types of gas-generating additives are substantiated to enable the highest performance of detonation and blasting. On the basis of the data on actual heat of explosion, loading density and rock mass condition, the optimal parameters are substantiated for drilling-and-blasting with Subtek emulsion explosive and for depth of holes judged by their drilling and loading conditions, detonation performance, hole damage and loss. Engineering decisions aimed at higher efficient breakage with holes and shotholes during drivage and stoping owing to best reasonable schemes of drilling, initiation and blasting are validated. In prospect it is planned to use exclusively emulsion explosives in underground mining.


Kalugin A.I.,Apatit JSC | Levin B.V.,Research Institute for Fertilizers and Insectofungicides NIUIF
Gornyi Zhurnal | Year: 2014

Apatite concentrate (AC) is a compound mineral material that can yield such by-products as fluorine, rare earth elements (REE) and strontium under certain acid treatment. For strontium and REE, the most efficient treatment is possible with nitric acid; for fluorine recovery, sulfuric acid treatment is the best. All plants within PhosAgro use the sulfuric acid treatment method for AC dissociation. In this context, the article focuses on particular issues of the sulfuric acid treatment technology for fluorine recovery and processing. The Khibiny AC contains close to 1% of total REE oxides, where light elements (lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium) prevail. The economic efficiency of REE recovery from the AC acid conversion product depends on the dissociation method, REE recovery technology and the light/medium-weight elements ratio. Until 2011, REE extraction from the conversion product of the AC acid treatment was unprofitable, even at maximized REE recovery, due to the low price of the light-group REE. So, the integrated and sound approach to REE recovery from AC should be elaborated from the standpoints of the technology, industry, economy, investment and market. This article considers the state-of-the-art and trends of advance in production and expansion of the range of prime concentrates and individual REE, production and consumption balance, technologies of REE recovery from special and multicomponent materials; besides, the applications of the technology of REE recovery from AC after acid treatment are presented. The all-embracing analysis of the current production situation and new projects in the sphere of rare earth elements will define the implication of AC as a feedstock for REE recovery. Apatite JSC and the Kola Science Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences continue the teamwork on creating the technological basic for the production of titanium dioxide pigment (titanium white), various purpose sorbents, chemically pure sphene concentrate, titanium hardener, mineral wool and chemically stable coatings made of aegirine concentrates. Production of coagulation and flocculation agents from nepheline concentrate after nitric acid treatment is under development.


Levin B.V.,Research Institute for Fertilizers and Insectofungicides NIUIF | Kalugin A.I.,Apatit JSC
Gornyi Zhurnal | Year: 2014

Apatit JSC, the world's largest producer of apatite concentrate, develops the Khibiny apatite-nepheline ore deposits. The company produces one of the world's best phosphate fertilizer represented by the apatite concentrate with P2O5 content over 39% and the least content of toxic elements as compared with the other known phosphate concentrates. The characteristics of the marketable apatite concentrates, i.e. P2O5 content and grain-size composition, are mainly conditioned by: Material composition, texture and structure of ore, including the size of shots of minerals, first of all, apatite shots; Engineering capabilities of processing equipment, mainly, flotation machines; Consumer requirements concerned with technology of processing. The methods of processing of apatite concentrate have evolved. Earlier, apatite concentrates were used to produce superphosphate, which required a fine disperse feedstock, whereas recently the concentrates are mainly processed to obtain wet-process phosphoric acid and compound fertilizers. Grain-size composition of feedstock is the determinant of the apatite concentrate treatment process conditions. The article reports the results of commercial tests of the oversize apatite concentrate treatment by sulfuric and nitric acids. It is emphasized that the equipment currently in use for production of wet-process phosphoric acid and compound fertilizers is totally suitable for the oversize apatite concentrate processing.


PhosAgro group of companies launched a large project in the sphere of tourism, alpine skiing and recreation. The project is aimed at the build-up of a ski mountaineering resort, with the best quality service and equipment, at the town of Kirovsk. The alpine skiing cluster will favor sports popularization and sports infrastructure development in the towns of Kirovsk and Apatity, with the active backup thanks to PhosAgro. The project is implemented on a basis of the acting alpine skiing resort Bigwood. The resort business will promote the relevant infrastructure, and will inspire small and medium business, including tourism and hotel businesses, and favor to job creation. Currently, the alpine skiing resort infrastructure includes 12 mountain tracks over 23 km long (seven tracks are artificially illuminated), meeting all the requirements of either amateurs or jockstraps in skiing. In 2014 it is scheduled to commission a round-robin ski lift 1.6 km long, with a capacity of 2400 men/h, and three more mountain tracks. Improvement of the ski mountaineering infrastructure will make it possible to use the alpine skiing resort as the training base for Russia's sportsmen in ski mountaineering and snowboarding, and also as the family recreation and touring site.


Kalugin A.I.,Apatit JSC | Konina O.T.,Apatit JSC | Gusar I.V.,Apatit JSC
Gornyi Zhurnal | Year: 2014

Ecological policy of Apatit JSC aims at mitigation of production impact on natural environment. Together with Russia's leading design institutions, Apatit JSC annually develops and implements industrial environmental monitoring programs and nature-conservative measures. For instance, Apatite-Nepheline Processing Plant-2 suppresses dust in the tailings storage area using asphalt emulsion EBK-3 diluted with hot water at a ratio from 1:2 to 1:10. Fixing agents based on polymers Floset S-44 and Floset R-77 are tested, and a mobile unit designed to create anti-dust water screen is trialed. Furthermore, beaches of tailings dumps are biologically consolidated, which diminishes flue-dust escape area by 10%. Objectives of reduction of pollution agents in effluents to surface water bodies are defined. The Research Center controls water quality. In 2013 a series of measures was undertaken to improve the ecology of the water bodies. Disposal of waste of production and consumption adheres to the appropriate federal laws and regulatory documents. Apatit actively participates in ecological campaigns. The company's nature conservation strategy will minimize deteriorative impact on ecosystem of the Kola Peninsula territory.


Belousov V.V.,Apatit JSC | Osipenko A.V.,Apatit JSC | Sakharov A.N.,Apatit JSC
Gornyi Zhurnal | Year: 2014

The authors present the research engineering and pilot projects that give grounds for the transition of Apatit deep mines operating under higher rock pressure and geodynamic hazard to the use of shotcrete for tunnel support based on the most advanced technologies and equipment known in the world. The comparative strength tests of samples made of shotcrete with addition of plastifiers and cement settling accelerators from different manufacturers are reported. On the background of the pilot projects and experience practice, the production procedures for tunnel support using shotcrete with dopes have been developed and introduced in Apatit mines. The authors state the increase in the tunnel support rate by 30% on an average; reduction in shotcrete loss (due to kickback in spaying) up to 5%; thickening of shotcrete layer per single application to 4-6 cm; applicability of shotcrete spraying in the zone of blasting; reduction of dust content and improvement of safety of fixturing operations. The trends of further research and development in the sphere of new types and methods of support for underground mines are indicated.


Korchak P.A.,Apatit JSC | Zhukova S.A.,Apatit JSC | Menshikov P.Y.,Apatit JSC
Gornyi Zhurnal | Year: 2014

Seismic monitoring is implemented in underground mines using automated rock mass control systems (ARMC) capable of recording seismic events with an energy E>102 J to the accuracy within a few meters. Early in 2012 Rasvumchorr Mine put into service a seismic information telemetry system (SIT) manufactured by Sistemotekhnika Science and Production Association. Late in 2012 Sistemotekhnika Science and Production Association accomplished manufacture of down-hole units designed to improve measurement accuracy and cut down equipment installation cost. Each seismic measurement point is equipped with a telemetry unit and an uninterruptable power supply unit enabling independent operation of the seismic point for 3 days. The measurement system uses seismometers S1073 or S2123 (Institute of Physics of the Earth, Russia); ?1638 1 Vs2/m, 0.2-400Hz (Geoakustika, Russia); downhole seismometers G4.5 4.5-2000Hz (ISS International, South Africa). The seismic points are arranged at a distance to 6 km from the seismic station and are connected with each other and with the station by the dedicated communication lines. For the sustainable geodynamic monitoring of the production area, Apatit JSC jointly with the Kola Division of the Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences have designed an integrated underground seismicity control system (IUSC). The IUCS system aims to provide realtime data on seismic mode (coordinates and magnitudes of seismic events) within the production area of Apatit JSC. Recording of seismic events with a probability not lower than 0.8 is conducted in the range of magnitudes from 0.6 and higher.


In terms of the mines within Apatit company, where the many-years high-rate extraction of apatite-nepheline ore has depleted reserves suitable for opencast mining and thus the underground mining method becomes topside, the article highlights the key trends of adjusting the strategy of geological exploration in order to enhance mineral production and extend life of mines. The author describes in brief the recent decade projects aimed at expansion of scope of operational and detailed exploration and at the techno-economically justified change in the extracted ore quality requirements towards reduced cutoff grade, which enabled refinement of boundaries and quality of ore bodies, transition of ore reserves to higher category extent of exploration, addition of ore reserves previously assumed as lost in pillars and, as a whole, the mining gain in operating mines.


The goal of the project on introduction of mining and geology information system (MGIS) was the advance in acquisition, storage, processing and transmission of geologic evidence and survey data, as well as the mine planning improvement. From the comparative analysis, MineScape Ventyx Intelligent Solution-MineScape (Switzerland)-was selected as the extremely competent system. Currently, MineScape is used in the following fields of activities: Geology, Surveying, Technology and Engineering Design. The main objectives are: • construction and permanent updating of the model of geological and engineering objects; • testing of mine planning procedures on the working model; • enhancement of quality and efficiency of geological-and-surveying service. Two mines were selected for the pilot MGIS introduction in 2013-2014: Tsentralny open pit mine and Kirovsky underground mine. An individual scheme of data base storage and processing within the integrated MGIS was developed for each mine, considering the features of mining. In 2015 Apatite JSC is scheduling the MineScape MGIS production run in the Tsentralny and Kirovsky mines. With MineScape introduced, it is anticipated to reduce: • total mineral loss by 5%; • period of data processing, modeling and mine planning by 15%, owing to the efficient algorithms and automation of most frequently fulfilled operations; • time for geological exploration and survey data processing and mine planning by 20%, thanks to the personnel development.

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