Why these issues
are important to us

Sustainability of ecosystems, biodiversity and a healthy environment are vital conditions for the wellbeing of future generations.

For this reason, a responsible approach to the environment is core to our business.

Approach

Governed by sustainable development principles, Uralkali considers environmental protection activities as representing an integral part of doing business.

The Company fully adheres to the requirements of environmental legislation, uses natural resources responsibly, and constantly introduces new environmental protection measures.

Key priorities

  • Reduction of waste discharges into water, balanced water consumption.
  • Efficient waste management.
  • Reduction of air emissions.
  • Minimisation of energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

Our main activities include:

  • Energy efficiency improvements and minimisation of the Company’s impact on the climate;
  • Protection of water resources;
  • Protection of the atmosphere;
  • Waste management;
  • Rational use of land resources and promotion of biodiversity;
  • Ensuring geological safety.

Due to the impact of the Company’s production activities on the environment, Uralkali bears responsibility for tackling global and regional environmental problems. The Company contributes to sustainable development through its environmental activities, which are an integral part of all Uralkali’s operations and fully comply with Russian legislation. The Company is continually developing its framework for environmental management.

In 2013, while developing its production capacity, the Company continued to invest in initiatives to protect the environment. In addition to current expenditures associated with protecting the atmosphere, and water and land resources, Uralkali is investing in the modernisation of existing machinery and the installation of new pollution control equipment, staff training, the development of internal monitoring and control systems, as well as scientific research.

Energy and climate

Energy efficiency

Following the merger with Silvinit, Uralkali initiated an energy audit at the end of 2011 to update information on energy consumption within the Company, including its new divisions. Following the audit, which was completed at the end of 2012, an energy passport was compiled, which comprehensively describes the Company’s energy consumption and fully complies with Russian legal requirements on energy saving. In addition, the data obtained during the audit served as the basis for establishing the new Energy Saving Programme for 2013-2018, which will be a continuation of the previous five-year Energy Saving Programme completed in 2012.

The new Energy Saving Programme is aimed at ensuring reduced energy consumption and the efficient use of energy resources, including maintaining an optimal ratio between externally procured and internally generated electricity. The Company implemented the following measures as part of the 2013 programme framework:

  • Establishing commissions on energy saving within subdivisions, subsidiaries and affiliates;
  • Developing lists of energy-saving measures within subdivisions, subsidiaries and affiliates;
  • Initiating a range of investment projects;
  • Replacing over 2,000 lighting fixtures with LED upgrades;
  • Launching a pilot project on the use of controller-optimisers with flotation machines in Berezniki-1;
  • Launching a pilot project on the use of CESS equipment in Berezniki-2 to decrease energy loss during engine work;
  • Launching a pilot project on regulating conveyor speed according to the amount of incoming ore;
  • Installing 15 frequency drives to enable the control of equipment productivity;
  • Inspecting and replacing heating insulation;
  • Performing pilot tests on various types of insulation systems;
  • Continuing organisational activities;
  • Holding an annual competition on optimisation and innovation entitled “Improving energy-saving efficiency: prudent use of industrial water, fuel and energy resources”. Approximately 200 entries were received;
  • Approving a provision for additional incentives for employees aimed at energy saving.

As a result of these initiatives, Uralkali was a winner in the competition to determine the most energy-efficient enterprises; meanwhile, the Company’s Chief Power Engineer, Alexei Ryumkin, was recognised as one of the leading power engineers of the Western Urals. The contest was organised by the Association of Power Engineers of the Western Urals.

Uralkali is working to minimise energy costs. As a result of the Company’s Energy Saving Programme, 2013 energy costs associated with the production of 1 tonne of output decreased due to the implementation of technical and organisational measures, while power generation from the Company’s gas turbine power plants increased by over 70%.

Use of associated petroleum gas

Under the Energy Saving Programme, the Company uses associated petroleum gas, which it purchases from oil and gas companies. This approach makes it possible not only to reduce consumption of natural gas and to ensure lower costs at the Company level, but also to prevent the flaring of associated gas by oil companies, thus reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2013, the volume of associated gas used totalled 70.5 million m3, which is within the optimal consumption balance range of 70-75 million m3. The optimal balance between the consumption of associated gas and natural gas is calculated taking into account the capacity utilisation rate and technical characteristics of the equipment used.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Uralkali recognises that its operations are inextricably linked to energy consumption, and that as a result the Company generates greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gas emissions from fertiliser production account for less than 1% IFA, “Fertilizers and Climate Change”, 24.07.2009of the global total. However, in 2012, we joined the international Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which is the most authoritative source of data on global climate change, and have since been providing information on our activities to reduce greenhouse gases.

For the reporting period, emissions of CO2-equivalent gases across the Group amounted to 1.97 million tonnes compared to 1.87 million tonnes in 2012 due to increased potash production.

Atmospheric emissions

As part of the Company’s programme to expand its existing production facilities, Uralkali is upgrading its waste treatment equipment. As a result, the operational efficiency of treatment facilities increases, thus reducing the negative impact on the environment.

In accordance with environmental law, production equipment is commissioned only after treatment equipment has been installed in order to prevent untreated emissions during the implementation of new investment projects.

In 2012-2013, pollutant emissions at Uralkali’s main production facilities increased from 3.61 to 4.45 million tons year-on-year. This was due to high H2S concentration in associated gas.

The increase in the overall amount of air pollutants in 2013 was also associated with the appearance of new sources of air pollutants (the Ust-Yayvinsky mine and Berezniki-4).

Water resources

To ensure the efficient consumption and reuse of water in order to minimise waste-water discharges, the Company develops and implements annual environmental action plans.

In 2013, the total water intake for industrial needs and utility services at Uralkali increased by 7% compared to 2012 and amounted to 19.8 million m3. The water intake from surface sources totalled 14.9 million m3.

The increase in water consumption in 2013 was due to the increase in potash output.

Water consumption for industrial needs increased slightly in 2013 following the changes of product grades.

The volume of water recycled and reused at Uralkali Group totalled 85.93 million m3, representing an increase on 2012 figures (70.1 million m3), which led to the lower overall amount of water waste.

Waste management

In 2013, Uralkali continued to implement measures to achieve higher levels of waste management efficiency. Such measures included:

  • introducing state-of-the-art production solutions at both existing and new facilities to increase the recovery ratio of valuable components from ore, resulting in significant reductions in waste generation;
  • filling the mined-out areas of mines, thus reducing not only the environmental impact, but also the risk of accidents due to subsidence;
  • crushing concrete slabs at a mobile crushing and sorting plant. The plant was acquired in June 2013 and is designed for processing concrete slabs into crushed stone.

Waste sent for disposal at landfill sites in 2013 decreased by 25% year-on-year and amounted to 41,9 thousand tonnes in the reporting period. The reduced amount of waste sent for disposal was due to the reduced generation of construction debris during the reconstruction of buildings and structural maintenance.

Uralkali aims to increase transfers of hazardous waste to third parties for further use. In 2013, the Company transferred for reuse 714.5 tonnes of waste, more than triple the amount in 2012. Such a considerable increase is explained by the construction of a new transformer substation for the Baltic Bulk Terminal.

The increase in mass of reclaimed hazardous waste for neutralisation from 0.5 thousand tonnes to 10 thousand tonnes was a result of drilling mud and cuttings from the Ust-Yayvinsky mine and oily waste from the boiler shop of Solikamsk-2 being sent for neutralisation.

Land resources and biodiversity

Uralkali pays close attention to the condition of ecosystems affected by its production activities. The Company regularly monitors water protection zones and the bank lines of small rivers, observing shrub and tree vegetation. As part of the construction of the Ust-Yayvinsky mine and the development of the Polovodovo site, background environmental conditions are monitored in connection with the impact of these activities. In 2013, there were no instances of soil pollution resulting from production activities at industrial sites or in the buffer zones of Uralkali. The results of the surveys suggest no significant damage to biodiversity in the regions where the Company operates.

Geological safety

The prerequisites for the development of a deposit are mining in a safe manner and preserving the functionality of mined areas.

In accordance with legislative requirements, the Company applies mining safeguards in mines where it is technically feasible to do so.

Where restrictions on the application of mining safeguards exist, Uralkali continues to use its own unique monitoring system to identify potentially hazardous sections in a timely way to provide immediate protection for the local population when necessary. The Company performs surveying and visual monitoring of mining territories and undertakes geophysical and hydrogeological research in all its mines.

The frequency of monitoring is determined for each facility individually, and is in full compliance with all applicable safety requirements.

Uralkali cooperates closely with R&D institutes to perform in-depth studies into the environmental impact of its operations in the regions where it is present.

Public environmental measures

Uralkali believes that positive results in resolving environmental issues can be achieved through collaborative efforts; for this reason, the Company actively engages with local communities in various environmental campaigns.

As part of its continued efforts to increase environmental awareness in communities, the Company took part in a number of projects in 2013, including:

  • “Protection from Environmental Hazards” Days in Berezniki and Solikamsk. Based on the results of the campaign, the Company received:
    • a diploma for Uralkali’s active participation in the campaign, fruitful cooperation and successful implementation of practical measures for the protection of the environment, awarded by the Berezniki city administration;
    • a thank you letter from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Forestry and Ecology of the Perm region for assistance in organising the “Protection from Environmental Hazards” Days in the Perm region.
  • The environmental campaign “All-Russia Cleanup. Let’s Do It! — 2013”. The Berezniki authorities expressed their gratitude to Uralkali for its active participation in environmental protection.

Project for conversion of old concrete slabs into crushed stone

Berezniki shaft construction administration, a subsidiary of Uralkali, acquired a mobile crushing plant to process large concrete slabs into crushed stone.

The introduction of this technology will reduce the burden on solid waste landfills and will allow the Company to reuse materials that remain after major maintenance of buildings and structures. The resulting crushed stone can be utilised for the bedding of temporary roads, dams and other waterworks and for temporary construction sites.

Previously, concrete slabs were disposed of at landfill sites; now the process is much simpler and more environmentally friendly. The new measures reduce the Company’s adverse impact on land resources (by decreasing the amount of waste sent to the landfill in Berezniki).

Use of the crushing plant for disposal complies with the requirements of the EU Waste Framework Directive. The acquisition of the crushing plant is one of the first steps towards comprehensive waste recycling within the Group.