Russian fertiliser maker EuroChem is planning to start production at its two mines in the country in 2017, with the aim of challenging one of the world's largest potash producers and exporters, Uralkali.
The company is currently working on the first phase of its Usolskiy project located in Russia's Verkhnekamskoe deposit in the Perm region, and VolgaKaliy project at the Gremyachinskoe deposit in the Volgograd region in western Russia.
During the first phase, the company aims to produce 2.3 million tonnes (Mt) of potassium chloride, whereas in the second phase an additional skip shaft will be constructed allowing the mine to produce 3.7Mt a year.
From both mines, EuroChem aims to produce an annual capacity of 8.3Mt of potash.
EuroChem mining head Clark Bailey was quoted by Bloomberg as saying: "We expect we'll be able to mine the first potash at both mines in late 2017."
To support its plan, the company secured $750m financing for Usolskiy Potash last week.
Bailey told the news agency that: "We have lower cost of construction per tonne of potash capacity than is needed to get return on investments.
"Given that we have a port at the Black Sea, we think that VolgaKaliy will be able to offer a very competitive price. It is well-positioned to ship potash to Europe or Latin America, including Brazil.
"Probably Uralkali will have to change some of their strategy and revisit their markets."
Image: The VolgaKaliy mine at the Gremyachinskoe deposit in the Volgograd region in western Russia. Photo: courtesy of EuroChem.