Premium Resource Base
Phosphate rock is the only significant global source of phosphorus, an element essential to plant and animal life.
PhosAgro — the world’s largest high-grade phosphate rock producer 1Fertecon
We are the world’s largest producer of high-grade phosphate rock (P₂O₅>35.7%), and our production volumes account for two-thirds of the high-grade phosphate rock output in Europe. Our mines and phosphate rock production facilities are based in the mountainous areas of the Kola Peninsula in Northwest Russia. European environmental standards require that superior quality feedstock is used in the production of phosphate products that are used in food production, in industrial applications, in fertilisers and in other applications, such as pharmaceuticals, so there is a consistent demand for our high-grade phosphate rock. Among PhosAgro’s major European clients are Yara International (Norway) and Prayon (Belgium), each of which has a global reputation for sourcing only high quality and naturally healthy raw materials.
High quality and pure ore
PhosAgro’s ore reserves are of igneous origin formed by volcanic activities. Due to the extremely high temperatures involved, the majority of the toxic heavy metals, mercury and lead in the phosphate rock were boiled off.
PhosAgro’s ore contains phosphate, aluminium oxide, titanium oxide, as well as rare earth elements. These ore reserves also benefit from low content levels of hazardous elements such as cadmium, arsenic, mercury and lead, and the lowest radioactivity level compared to other major global phosphate rock producers. Our igneous rock formations have a smaller content of impurities compared to the sedimentary deposits exploited by our peers. This ensures a high content of the desired material in the final concentrate. In addition, phosphate rock produced from ore mined from igneous sources requires less sulphuric acid to produce one unit of phosphoric acid, which is used to produce phosphate-based fertilisers and other phosphate-based products. Therefore, the use of superior phosphate rock results in production of best in class phosphate-based products, higher output and significantly lower processing costs.
The quality of phosphate rock is generally measured based on P₂O₅ content level, which represents the level of nutrient content. PhosAgro produces high quality and high-grade phosphate rock with 39% — 40% P₂O₅ content, while phosphate rock produced by most of the Company’s peers has P₂O₅ content levels of approximately 28% — 32%. On export our high-grade phosphate rock is principally sold to European producers of food phosphate products and industrial phosphate products including salts. These companies require phosphate rock with a high nutrient content and low level of hazardous elements.
Unique resource base
Our existing resource base will allow us to maintain production of high grade phosphate rock for over 75 years, based on current extraction volumes. Rich in different minerals, our ore contains approximately 280 million tonnes of aluminium oxide, the largest resource in Russia, as well as over 41%Source: The Institute of Economic Problems, Kola Science Center, Russian Academy of Sciences named after G.P. Luzin of Russia’s total rare earth resources, plus other useful elements such as titanium dioxide.
“Phosphorus is an Element of Life and Thought”
Phosphorus is considered to be the second most common mineral in the human body. It is a particularly important constituent of human bones — indeed we would not be able to move normally without sufficient phosphorus in our bodies. While about 85% of the phosphorus in the body is found in bones and teeth, it is also present in other cells and tissues. It helps the body repair muscles, flush out waste from the kidneys, and to store energy. The growth and regeneration of cells, tissues and muscles require a certain level of phosphorus in the blood at all times.
Phosphorus plays a vital role in process related to the growth and maintenance of bones and teeth. It lays the foundation for a strong skeletal structure to ensure healthy living, working in association with calcium to provide strong bones, which can withstand the wear and tear normal in human life. It helps us to maintain healthy gums and tooth enamel, as well as relieving serious problems like bone loss.
Phosphates are known for inhibiting exercise-induced lactic acid production in muscle tissue, allowing muscles to work harder and longer without the “burn” that limits athletic endurance. Both strength and endurance athletes use phosphates to enhance their workouts and stimulate muscle-building potential as well as to enhance the effects of creatine.
As phosphorous is an essential element found around the brain, as well as inside brain cells, it is responsible for various important functions. The correct level of phosphorous helps maintain proper brain function. The human nervous system is extremely dependent on phosphorus compounds. For example, phospholipids are needed to form the myelin sheath on the nerves. This is like the insulation on wires. If it is not strong, the brain literally short circuits, like two bare wires touching each other. This can cause seizures, multiple sclerosis and dozens of other problems. Also, the brain uses so much energy that high-energy phosphorus compounds are critical for thinking and the higher brain development of a human being. This is one of the reasons vegetarians are prone to fatigue, anxiety and depression much more than meat eaters. Meat is far higher in bio available phosphorus compounds than vegetarian proteins like nuts, seeds and beans.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre (USA), most healthy adults need 700 mg of phosphorus a day. The primary source of this mineral is food rich in protein, such as meat, poultry, nuts, legumes, fish, dairy and eggs. Other good sources include whole grains, dried fruit and garlic cloves.
“What is a Premium Raw Material?”
The phosphate rock of the Kola Peninsula region is considered to be the classic example of a premium raw material. John Sinden, a world-renowned consultant engineer with more than 45 years in the field of phosphate processing, presented an excellent case study: “Igneous phosphates — a premium raw material for value added phosphate products” at the Phosphate 2010 Conference in Brussels, Belgium. Mr. Sinden demonstrated the advantages of igneous phosphate, using as an example Kola phosphate, in the production of purified phosphoric acid (PPA). The findings presented include the following:
- 1t of P₂O₅ is contained in every 2.53t of
39-40%concentrate, and the same amount of P₂O₅ in every 3.17t of 31.5% concentrate. Thus the higher content of 39-40%P₂O₅ reduces the cost of transport.
- The level of radioactivity is low, both in the phosphoric acid and the calcium sulphate, to the extent that it can be used in civil construction.
- The low level of carbonates means that the release of the greenhouse gasses is reduced.
- The low level or absence of organic matter makes for the cleaner separation of solvent.
- The low levels of heavy metals mean less purification for feed and food use.
- The low levels of magnesium maintain a low viscosity.
The conclusion was that the Kola phosphate meets all the criteria of a premium raw material in all aspects, including price.
Source: “Igneous Phosphates — A Premium Raw Materials for ‘Value Added’ Phosphate Products”, John Sinden, JSA LTDA, March 2010.
Global phosphate reserves breakdown
|Location 1||Al₂O₃ content||Ore type||Level of radioactivity||Hazardous metals content|
|13.0–14.0% High||Igneous||Very low||Very low|
|Very low||Sedimentary||Moderate to high||Moderate to high|
|Very low||Sedimentary||Low to moderate||Low|
|Very low||Sedimentary||Low to moderate||Low to moderate|
|Low to moderate||Sedimentary||Moderate||Low to moderate|
1 Primary global DAP/MAP producing regions
Source: Fertecon, IMC
Life of Resources
Source: Fertecon, IMC, companies’ data
Quality of phosphate rock
2 Average cadmium content in ppm
3 Average Minor Element Ratio greater than 0.1 not suitable for production high quality DAP
Source: Fertecon, PhosAgro, companies’ data