Acron to Begin Producing Phosphates in July, Studies Rare Earths

April 2, 2012 (Source: Bloomberg) — OAO Acron (AKRN) will make phosphate at the Russian fertilizer producer’s project in Murmansk region from July, and study setting up rare earth output at the site.

The company, based in Velikiy Novgorod, plans to achieve full capacity for production of apatite concentrate, a form of phosphate, at the Oleniy Ruchey project by the end of the year, its press office said today by phone, citing comments by Chairman Alexander Popov at a ceremony at the facility.

Acron is also studying producing rare earth metals such as neodimium and lanthanum from ore at the site, the office said.

Acron, a nitrogen fertilizer maker controlled by Russian billionaire Viatcheslav Kantor, is diversifying into phosphates and potash to be self-sufficient in the production of so-called NPK complex fertilizers. The company is seeking investors for a 29 percent share of its Talitsky potash project in Perm region after VEB, Russia’s state development bank chaired by Vladimir Putin, agreed to buy 20 percent of the deposit in December and provide a $1.1 billion loan for development, the office said.

Acron will spend $400 million by 2015 to build an ammonia plant with a 700,000 metric ton capacity at its main production site in Velikiy Novgorod after opening on March 31 a $95 million urea factory that can process 335,000 tons, boosting capacity almost 75 percent, it said in a regulatory filing today.

Rio Tinto Group has an option to raise its stake in North Atlantic Potash Inc., a venture with Acron that has exploration and mining licenses in Canada’s Saskatchewan province, to 80 percent from 40 percent, the press office said. Even 20 percent is enough for Acron to be self-sufficient in potash, it said.

The Rio stake was reported earlier by Interfax.

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