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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.

Davydenko V.V.,PhosAgro AG LLC | Levin B.V.,Research Institute for Fertilizers and Insectofungicides NIUIF | Loikov S.A.,PhosAgro AG LLC | Shepel A.V.,PhosAgro AG LLC
Gornyi Zhurnal | Year: 2014

It is by now over 10 years that the National Mineral Resources University (University of Mines), Saint Petersburg, and PhosAgro holding company have been carrying on cooperation in terms of team projects in the sphere of education and research, strategic planning of PhosAgro progression. At the present time, Apatit engages 377 graduates of the University of Mines, among which there are 247 engineers. The students have an opportunity to train at the company. The University structure includes the Khibiny technical college, which contributes to the professional education quality improvement. In the research sphere, the University scientific men have prepared a survey of the current condition and potential of phosphate ore and raw material supplies base in Russia and abroad, and performed an analysis of the ore and raw material supplies base of Apatit company. The management solutions and process designs targeted at the production advancement are proposed and substantiated. In particular, the researchers have explored extractability of the bottom and sidewall reserves of actual open pit mines. The higher priority joint project is the development of crystallization technology for concurrent recovery of rare earth metals from products of sulfuric acid treatment of apatite concentrate by dihydrate method.

Guriev A.A.,PhosAgro Holding Company | Rybnikov M.K.,PhosAgro AG LLC | Davydenko V.V.,Apatit JSC | Levin B.V.,Research Institute for Fertilizers and Insectofungicides NIUIF
Gornyi Zhurnal | Year: 2014

PhosAgro is the top producer of phosphorous fertilizers in Russia. PhosAgro group of companies includes fertilizer producers and an apatite concentrate manufacturer-Apatit Mining and Processing Integrated Works celebrating its 85th anniversary this year. Recently PhosAgro implements a series of investment projects aimed to develop the ore and raw material supplies base of Apatit and to upgrade the mineral dressing branch of the company. The emphasis in the development of Apatit is made on underground mining buildup, above all in the largest Kirovsk Mine that holds close to half of the overall nepheline ore reserves of the company. To this effect, the mine drives the second main shaft equipped with skip hoisting system, constructs an underground ore crushing plant and opens up new production levels. After the project accomplishment, the mine will reach the annual ore production of 14 Mt. The second project under implementation is introduction of emulsion explosives (EE) to underground mining. The technology of charging wet up holes with EE has been practiced to perfection. Actually, an EE manufacturing plant is under construction on the industrial site of Apatit JSC. The project is implemented jointly with Orica, Australia. Apatit is greatly concerned with the production control. In 2011 the automated motor transport dispatch system was introduced in Koashvinsky open pit mine. Each truck was equipped with a set of sensors and an onboard computer to record all technical data, malfunctions, location data etc. As early as the first operation year, the dispatch system demonstrated high efficiency expressed in terms of productiveness, fuel consumption and exhaust emission of operating trucks. In 2014 Apatit JSC is launching the same dispatch system in Rasvumchorr underground mine equipped with self-propelled load-haul- dumpers. Next in turn is Kirovsk mine. Apatit JSC actualizes a large-scale technical reequipment program at the own processing plants. The investment project of the ore milling and classifying unit remodeling is at the end. Eventually, recovery of marketable P2O5 has increased while the share of fine fractions has decreased. One more project described in the article deals with the heat supply of the town of Kirovsk. By the end of 2013, the housing had been put on the heat supply by the remote Apatitskaya Thermal Power Station. This enabled closure of local fuel-oil boiling plants, which drastically improved the urban air.

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