Di­a­mond Arch of Bel­go­rkhim­prom

Bel­go­rkhim­prom has been in the potash in­dus­try for half a cen­tury al­ready

Economy of Belarus - - CONTENTS - Anna LINSKAYA

Bel­go­rkhim­prom has been in the potash in­dus­try

for half a cen­tury al­ready

Mr Shemet, in 2010 your com­pany and the Turk­men­chem­istry state con­cern signed a con­tract to con­struct a potash plant in Turk­menistan. This is a land­mark project both for the com­pany that was pre­vi­ously en­gaged mainly in de­sign projects and for the en­tire na­tional econ­omy, be­cause the con­tract is es­ti­mated at $1 bil­lion. What is the sta­tus of the project? What has al­ready been done?

The con­tract be­tween Bel­go­rkhim­prom and the Turk­men­chem­istry state con­cern en­vis­ages the turnkey con­struc­tion of a min­ing and pro­cess­ing plant near the Gar­lyk de­posit of po­tas­sium salts. The com­plex will be lo­cated in Le­bap Oblast of Turk­menistan and will pro­duce 1.4 mil­lion tonnes of po­tas­sium chlo­ride per year. Our com­pany will be re­spon­si­ble for the sci­en­tific and de­sign part, as well as for all con­struc­tion and in­stal­la­tion works, equip­ment pur­chase and de­liv­ery, and com­mis­sion­ing of the plant. Three years af­ter the plant be­comes op­er­a­tional, Bel­go­rkhim­prom will take care of the com­pany

Get­ting ac­cess to the mar­ket of de­sign and con­struc­tion ser­vices re­lated to the pro­duc­tion of potash fer­til­iz­ers is of­ten com­pared with a di­a­mond arch. In­deed, the need for potash fer­til­iz­ers is in­creas­ing year to year: new de­posits are dis­cov­ered all over the world, new min­ing and pro­cess­ing plants are con­structed. To squeeze into this mar­ket is the same as to dis­cover a di­a­mond field. This is proved by many years of work of the re­search and de­sign cen­ter Bel­go­rkhim­prom rein­cor­po­rated as a joint stock ven­ture in 1996. To­day this com­pany is by right con­sid­ered one of the big­gest and most rep­utable com­pa­nies in the seg­ment in the CIS and Europe. The com­pany runs ma­jor projects not only in Be­larus, but also in Turk­menistan, Rus­sia, Asian and African coun­tries. Bel­go­rkhim­prom Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Sergei SHEMET told the Econ­omy of Be­larus Mag­a­zine about the com­pany’s most no­table con­tracts and plans for the fu­ture.

un­til it reaches its de­signed ca­pac­ity.

We will also be re­spon­si­ble for train­ing of spe­cial­ists to work at Gar­lyk Min­ing and Pro­cess­ing Plant, first of all those who will work in the mine and the pro­cess­ing unit. To­day, some 194 stu­dents from Turk­menistan study at Be­laru­sian uni­ver­si­ties (the Be­laru­sian State Tech­ni­cal Univer­sity and the Be­laru­sian State Tech­no­log­i­cal Univer­sity). By the time the plant be­comes op­er­a­tional, these stu­dents will have grad­u­ated and come back to Turk­menistan. The plant is to be com­mis­sioned in Jan­uary 2015. Turk­menistan has al­ready trans­ferred part of the ad­vance pay­ment to Be­larus. The bulk of the pay­ment is to be trans­ferred in 2013-2014.

The con­struc­tion of the ma­jor fa­cil­i­ties of the potash plant has al­ready started. We have de­cided upon the tech­nol­ogy to process ore at the pro­cess­ing unit. We have started build­ing an ad­min­is­tra­tive and hous­ing com­plex, an ore ware­house, a me­tal ware­house; we are com­plet­ing the in­stal­la­tion of the foun­da­tion of the salt dump and slurry stor­age. We have built roads and a bor­der dike that pro­tects the con­struc­tion site and the vil­lage of Gar­lyk from mud flows. We have also in­stalled water and electricity sup­ply ser­vice.

If we com­pare the struc­ture of a min­ing and pro­cess­ing plant with a hu­man body, then a mine and shafts are its heart. We have al­ready started dig­ging shafts and are plan­ning to fin­ish next year. We are as­sisted by the Turk­ish con­struc­tion com­pany Koca Group and the Trest Shah­h­tospetsstroy com­pany from Be­larus. The mine fan is the lungs of the plant. Its de­sign is ready, now we are com­plet­ing the equip­ment pro­duc­tion and are think­ing how to de­liver it to the in­dus­trial site.

By the way, when con­struct­ing the shafts we are us­ing an in­no­va­tive method which Bel­go­rkhim­prom has de­vel­oped and patented in prepa­ra­tion for the con­struc­tion of Gar­lyk Min­ing and Pro­cess­ing Plant. For ex­am­ple, in Be­larus we use a spe­cial method of freez­ing mine rocks, i.e. we form the so-called ice-wall pil­lar and then build shafts through it.

How­ever, Turk­menistan is lo­cated in the zone of high seis­mic ac­tiv­ity. To en­sure the safety of the shafts, the spe­cial­ists of the com­pany have de­vel­oped a new method of build­ing shafts. Around the perime­ter of the fu­ture ver­ti­cal pro­duc­tion, we cre­ate the so-called wall of ce­ment-soil mix­ture by em­ploy­ing the method of a ce­ment grout jet­ting. This is done with the help of 150 bore­holes on each shaft at a depth be­low wa­tered ground (which reaches the depth of 60 to 90 me­ters at the Gar­lyk de­posit). And only then a shaft is built in this firm wa­ter­tight “glass”. New tech­nol­ogy will sim­plify works, make them cheaper and faster, and will also in­crease the re­li­a­bil­ity of mine ex­ploita­tion in the con­di­tions of high seis­mic­ity.

In or­der to en­hance the ef­fec­tive­ness of the Turk­men project we would like to in­volve as many Be­laru­sian pro­duc­ers of equip­ment, ma­te­ri­als, and con­struc­tion work­ers as pos­si­ble. There­fore, we have de­vel­oped a strat­egy for the fur­ther con­struc­tion of the plant en­vis­ag­ing a larger in­volve­ment of Be­laru­sian or­ga­ni­za­tions and pro­fes­sion­als. We are go­ing to ask the Ar­chi­tec­ture and Con­struc­tion Min­istry of Be­larus to help us de­sign and con­struct sev­eral fa­cil­i­ties.

The en­ter­prise Con­struc­tion Depart­ment No. 157 from Borisov is al­ready de­ployed on­site in Turk­menistan. Its pro­fes­sion­als have a high rep­u­ta­tion there. Cur­rently we are con­sid­er­ing buy­ing ad­di­tional spe­cial con­struc­tion equip­ment to en­hance our ca­pac­ity on­site. In ad­di­tion to works di­rectly on­site, we have car­ried out some struc­tural changes in our branch of­fice in Turk­menistan. We have hired more ex­pe­ri­enced con­struc­tion spe­cial­ists. To­day the branch em­ploys more than 100 peo­ple.

Bel­go­rkhim­prom is the gen­eral de­signer of Tal­it­sky Min­ing and Pro­cess­ing Plant in Rus­sia. The con­tract was con­cluded with Verkhnekamsk Potash Com­pany in 2011. Please tell us more about this project and about co­op­er­a­tion with the Rus­sians in gen­eral.

At this point we have pre­pared a fea­si­bil­ity study of the project, which has been sent to the cus­tomer al­ready. Now we are work­ing on project doc­u­men­ta­tion, which must be de­vel­oped within 11 months.

The new ore min­ing and pro­cess­ing plant will be lo­cated in the Tal­it­sky sec­tion of the Verkhnekamsk potash de­posit in Perm Krai.

This is not the first largescale project of Bel­go­rkhim­prom in Rus­sia. In 2010 the com­pany pre­pared project doc­u­men­ta­tion for Gre­my­achinsk Min­ing and Pro­cess­ing Plant. The en­ter­prise was built as part of the con­tract with Eurochem, Rus­sia’s largest pro­ducer of min­eral fer­til­iz­ers.

In fact, Be­laru­sian engineers par­take in Rus­sian projects to de­velop potash de­posits on a reg­u­lar ba­sis to­day. For ex­am­ple, they are cur­rently in talks with GMC Global En­ergy plc owned by prom­i­nent Rus­sian businessman

Mikhail Gut­seriyev as part of the con­tract to de­sign a new potash plant in Be­larus – Slavkali. The to­tal in­vest­ments can reach $1.75 bil­lion. Ini­tially the plant’s pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity will make up about 1.1 mil­lion tonnes of po­tas­sium chlo­ride per year. Later Slavkali may boost the pro­duc­tion if the de­mand is suf­fi­cient.

Cer­tain steps to im­ple­ment the project have been made al­ready. In line with the in­vest­ment agree­ment, GMC Global En­ergy plc has started de­vel­op­ing the Nezhin site of the Starobin potash de­posit. Minsk City Hall reg­is­tered Slavkali as a for­eign limited li­a­bil­ity com­pany af­fil­i­ated with GMC Global En­ergy plc.

Bel­go­rkhim­prom has some ex­pe­ri­ence of co­op­er­at­ing with this com­pany. The two en­ter­prises signed a num­ber of con­tracts to col­lect data re­gard­ing the po­ten­tial eco­nomic ef­fect of the project to set up a potash plant in Be­larus. The com­pany pre­pared a fea­si­bil­ity study and a busi­ness plan of the project. All doc­u­ments re­lated to de­sign and pre­design works have been for­warded for con­sid­er­a­tion to Slavkali. I think, they will be signed in the near fu­ture, as Mikhail Gut­seriyev de­cided that our com­pany will or­ga­nize work on the project dur­ing his visit to Bel­go­rkhim­prom.

Can Slavkali be­come a strong ri­val for Be­laru­sian pro­duc­ers of potash fer­til­iz­ers? By 2021 Be­larus is ea­ger to build an­other min­ing and pro­cess­ing plant with the ca­pac­ity of 1.5 mil­lion tonnes of po­tas­sium chlo­ride per year at the Petrikov de­posit of Be­laruskali. By the way, has the project made much head­way?

Our com­pany and Be­laruskali are cur­rently work­ing to­gether on the ac­tion plan to de­velop the Petrikov potash field. We sub­mit­ted our pro­pos­als to Bel­neftekhim Con­cern in the mid­dle of Fe­bru­ary. Once the project is ap­proved, the works will com­mence.

More­over, Bel­go­rkhim­prom is in­volved in an­other two projects of Be­laruskali. In 2012 the pro­duc­tion of com­plex-mixed gran­u­lated NPK fer­til­iz­ers with the ca­pac­ity of 240,000 tonnes per year will be launched at Be­laruskali’s Mine Group No. 3. The fa­cil­ity will man­u­fac­ture var­i­ous fer­til­iz­ers en­riched with phos­phor, ni­tro­gen, po­tas­sium, mi­croad­di­tives. In 2013 there are plans to build a chem­i­cal re­fin­ery com­plex for chlo­ri­nated min­eral raw ma­te­ri­als with the ca­pac­ity of 10,000 tonnes per year. The plant will man­u­fac­ture and ex­port po­tas­sium hy­drox­ide (KOH), hy­drochlo­ric acid (HCL), sodium hypochlo­rite (NAOCL). The in­vest­ment of­fer and the ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign pre­pared by the com­pany were sub­mit­ted to the state ex­pert ap­praisal agency.

As for com­pe­ti­tion… We should un­der­standthatthe­p­op­u­la­tion­keeps grow­ing at a time when soil fer­til­ity is wors­en­ing. We can en­hance land pro­duc­tiv­ity only with the help of min­eral fer­til­iz­ers. We be­lieve there will be room for ev­ery­one on the mar­ket as the de­mand for the prod­uct will con­tinue in­creas­ing as well as its price.

Ex­port of potash fer­til­iz­ers yields high rev­enue. Salt­field de­vel­op­ment ser­vices can be very lu­cra­tive, too. So why, hav­ing rich ex­pe­ri­ence, highly qual­i­fied spe­cial­ists and tech­ni­cal po­ten­tial, not take this chance if there are cus­tomers who are will­ing to pay big money?

This year the ge­og­ra­phy of your busi­ness is ex­pected to widen sub­stan­tially. Where does Bel­go­rkhim­prom plan to ad­vance?

We have great op­por­tu­ni­ties in Congo, Laos, Morocco, Myan­mar, Viet­nam, and Venezuela. In Congo we might take part in the de­vel­op­ment of a potash de­posit. We have al­ready ap­plied for the par­tic­i­pa­tion in the ten­der and now are wait­ing for the re­ply. Apart from this, in June-july Laos is ex­pected to hold a ten­der on a potash salt­field de­vel­op­ment in the Mekong belt owned by Viet­namese Vi­nachem. We are de­ter­mined to take part in the ten­der.

There are plans to de­velop slate coal de­posits in Morocco. We sug­gest de­sign­ing the sur­face com­plex tech­nol­ogy by spe­cial­ists from St. Peters­burg and the rest by Bel­go­rkhim­prom. The cus­tomer has agreed on these terms and is ex­pected to visit Minsk soon to con­tinue the talks re­gard­ing Bel­go­rkhim­prom’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the project.

I would call min­eral-rich Myan­mar quite a promis­ing mar­ket. We plan to hold talks with the Min­ing In­dus­try Min­is­ter of that coun­try to iden­tify pos­si­ble ar­eas of co­op­er­a­tion.

Apart from these promis­ing projects, there are a num­ber of oth­ers be­ing im­ple­mented jointly with non-cis coun­tries. In late 2011 Bel­go­rkhim­prom signed a mem­o­ran­dum on co­op­er­a­tion with the Min­ing Sci­ence In­sti­tute of the Vim­sat Com­pany ( Viet­nam). The doc­u­ment en­vis­ages part­ner­ship in de­vel­op­ment of solid min­er­als. It might be coal, iron, or cop­per ore. Viet­namese part­ners are in­ter­ested in Be­laru­sian tech­nolo­gies.

Apart from that, our spe­cial­ists are tak­ing part in the de­vel­op­ment of Venezue­lan phos­phate de­posits. They drill wells, con­duct fol­low-up ex­plo­ration, and study ore-pro­cess­ing po­ten­tial. All the works are on sched­ule. This is the first project Bel­go­rkhim­prom is im­ple­ment­ing in Venezuela. We es­tab­lished co­op­er­a­tion with Venezuela’s Pe­quiven in April 2007.

In Novem­ber 2008 we opened our of­fice in San Cris­to­bal, the cap­i­tal of Tachira State, in a bid to strengthen bi­lat­eral ties.

What helps your com­pany to stay afloat on the mar­ket of field de­vel­op­ment ser­vices, es­pe­cially, in the po­tas­sium in­dus­try?

For al­most half a cen­tury since it was es­tab­lished, Bel­go­rkhim­prom has gained tremen­dous, I do not ex­ag­ger­ate it, ex­pe­ri­ence in sci­en­tific sup­port and de­sign of in­dus­trial fa­cil­i­ties. Our com­pany has come up with many in­ter­est­ing prac­tices and tech­nolo­gies. Among them is a new method of shaft con­struc­tion which I have men­tioned be­fore. This method is ap­plied in Turk­menistan to­day and arouses a keen in­ter­est among for­eign spe­cial­ists.

For­eign ex­perts are also in­ter­ested in our potash ore dress­ing tech­nolo­gies, for which pur­pose the com­pany has de­vel­oped spe­cial equip­ment. Kaza­khstan, Rus­sia as well as Uzbek­istan are us­ing our tech­nol­ogy. China, Ger­many and Canada also show a vivid in­ter­est in Bel­go­rkhim­prom’s potash ore­dress­ing prac­tices.

And, of course, ev­ery ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy in the na­tional po­tas­sium in­dus­try is em­ployed by the in­sti­tute in its projects both in Be­larus and out­side the coun­try.

Panoramic view of the fu­ture Gar­lyk Min­ing and Pro­cess­ing Plant in Turk­menistan


mine No. 4

The con­struc­tion site of the Gar­lyk Min­ing and Pro­cess­ing Plant in Turk­menistan

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