Research and Development

04

Our Scientific Research Institute for Fertilisers and Insectofungicide (NIUIF) is PhosAgro’s
research and development hub.

NIUIF is the only research institute in Russia specialising in research and development in the phosphate-based fertiliser industry, focusing on environmentally friendly and resource-efficient technologies. Since the foundation of NIUIF in 1919, more than 80 plants producing sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid, fertilisers and industrial salts have been constructed and commissioned based on technologies developed by NIUIF. NIUIF had a staff of 99 people as at 31 December 2011.

The Company’s main R&D activities are focused on:

  • Research in the field of the processing of phosphate raw materials, development of processes and devices for chemical fertilisers, technical salts and inorganic acids;
  • Creation of environmentally safe and resource-saving technologies and equipment used in the production of phosphate-based and nitrogen-based fertilisers, acids, technical salts and mineral feed;
  • Establishing technologies for the utilisation and processing of the waste products of mineral fertilisers;
  • Development of measures to conserve electricity and the utilisation of secondary energy resources;
  • Design work and the delivery of turnkey facilities;
  • Offering licences and know-how;
  • Design of experimental and industrial production;
  • Development of technical specifications, safety data sheets (SDS) and fertiliser products standards;
  • Carrying out of tests for chemical products certification;
  • Feasibility studies on the prospects for the development of science and technology in the production of phosphate-based and nitrogen-based fertilisers, sulphuric and phosphoric acids;
  • Research on the effectiveness of new fertiliser products in different types of soil in the territory of the Russian Federation;
  • Carrying out patent and licensing programmes.

Our R&D activities are also aimed at modernising PhosAgro’s production facilities in order to enhance their production capacities, efficiency and reliability. Most of these efforts result in the construction of new production lines at the existing production facilities or in incremental improvements to the Company’s current operations which are implemented in connection with operational maintenance of the mining and extraction facilities. To the extent possible, NIUIF seeks to register any intellectual property rights that may result from these activities. It holds approximately 70 active patents covering most aspects of phosphoric and sulphuric acids production, refining and the subsequent production of fertilisers.

NIUIF cooperates with many Russian and foreign organisations in the field of innovative development. Among these organisations are a number of Russian universities, including Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology of Russia, Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical C hemistry of the R ussian Academу of Sciences and the Saint Petersburg State Mining University. Foreign organisations and universities with which NIUIF cooperates include MECS and Weir Minerals Levis Pumps (USA), Grenzebach GMBH (Germany) and Kazphosphate LLC (Kazakhstan), Sumy Scientific and R esearch Institute of Fertilisers and Pigments (Ukraine) and the National Science Academy of Belarus.

Key NIUIF projects developed and implemented in 2011 include:

  • The development of technical aspects of BMF’s 2012- 2016 development programme, which focused on modernising existing facilities, developing new brands of fertiliser products, increasing the complexity and completeness of the processing of raw materials, and the optimisation of materials and energy utilisation at BMF.
  • Completion of tests at BMF for processing Karatau phosphorite (Kazakhstan) in wet-process phosphoric acid, and producing fertilisers based on it. Based on the results of these tests, principle technical solutions have been developed and designed to enable the introduction of a new production line for wet-process phosphoric acid and an annual capacity of 220 thousand tonnes. The implementation of this project will enable the Company to expand the range of NIUIF technologies.
  • Completion of the detailed engineering for a sulphuric acid unit with an annual production capacity of 600 thousand tonnes for Kazphosphate LLC (Kazakhstan).

Following the end of the year under review, in January 2012, PhosAgro’s engineering subsidiary KPNK PhosAgro was renamed to Mining and Chemical Engineering LLC (“MCE”) with a major focus on mining development.

The main objectives of MCE are as follows:

  • Development of feasibility studies for prospective mining sites and the technical and economic parameters for deposits that are currently being mined;
  • Development of the technical specifications of, and support for, exploration works;
  • Assessment of technical documentation and the optimisation of mining operations based on economic criteria;
  • Development of detailed design documentation for the construction of new mining facilities and the modernisation of existing facilities, including production units; and
  • Development of sections within technical documentation relating to the production of chemicals.