Major fertilizer producer uses vertical roller mill to produce a consistent, dry product in a difficult environment

By Markus Stapelmann, Dr. Carsten Gerold and Alexey Smirnov

One of the world’s top 10 fertilizer producers, the Russian company EuroChem, is increasing its production capacity for phosphate rock-based fertilizer products with the development of mining and primary ore treatment for the Kok-Djon deposit in southern Kazakhstan.

The project is being developed in two stages. During the first stage, production facilities for crushing, drying and grinding of phosphate rock, mined in the nearby open pit, came on stream in 2016. The product will serve as the raw material for a new chemical processing and fertilizer-production plant that will be built during the second stage. Upon completion, the complex will produce about 3.2 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of first-class high-grade mineral fertilizer and associated products for local and international markets, making it the biggest fertilizer producer in Kazakhstan.

Difficult environmental conditions, as well as various process and product related requirements, have turned the processing of the material into a complex task that can be solved very efficiently by vertical roller mill (VRM) technology. With more than 2,500 installations worldwide, Loesche GmbH is a leader in designing and supplying mineral processing plants with VRM technology. The company’s core competence is the development and implementation of crushing, grinding and drying plants with a high level of process engineering. It has frequently been the first company to introduce its technology in various industries, including several installations for grinding phosphate rock and phosphate rock concentrates.

After being approached by EuroChem to develop a dry comminution process based on VRM technology, Loesche performed extensive test work at its research center and won the contract.

Since completion of the commissioning in February 2016, the 650,000-mt/y phosphate rock grinding plant, engineered, delivered and assembled by Loesche, operates to EuroChem’s complete satisfaction. As the project combined demanding requirements with a relatively hard and abrasive material, it was an excellent opportunity to introduce a number of modifications to the VRM technology for processing hard ores and minerals that Loesche has developed in recent years.
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