Russia is looking forward to joining the select group of world
magnesium hydroxide (MgOH2) producers through
Nikochem LLCs joint venture with The Russian Corp. of
Nanotechnologies (Rusnano) in the commercial production of nano
MgOH2 by 2013.
The projects aim is the
production of a flame retardant nanostructured MgOH2
with a modified surface, and value added products of bromide
and magnesium chloride. Rusnano has taken a 35.8% share in
Nikochems nano MgOH2 project, aiming at a 2013
plant start up.
Rusnano is to contribute
RUB167m.($5.48m.) to the project, and provide up to
RUB1,110m.($36.4m.) in credit. The total budgeted cost of the
project is RUB3,100m.($101.8m).
A 25,000 tpa plant is to be
constructed at the site of JSC Kaustik (a Nikochem subsidiary)
in Volgograd. An EPC contract with Andritz AG, Austria is under
negotiation, which, if successful, will permit the project to
proceed in the first quarter of 2010.
The plan envisages start up of a
pilot plant in 2011 and ramp up to commercial production by
production technology has been developed by Nikochem at
laboratory and pilot scales.
In a statement, Dmitry Kuzmenko,
head of Business Development Department of Nikochem said:
Polymer compounds produced with nanostructured magnesium
hydroxide addition were tested in cooperation with leading
Russian compounders and profile institutes like FGUP VNIIPO. As
a result Nikochem has already concluded several long term sales
contracts with the biggest global and Russian compounders and
Rusnano was established in 2007
to enable Russian government policy in the field of
nanotechnology. Other projects include development of Li-ion
batteries with Thunder Sky, China, and quartz processing for
As more end products are
manufactured containing plastics and increasingly stringent
safety legislation permeates all industries, the demand for
flame retardants is rising accordingly.
This is welcome news for mineral
producers and processors of alumina trihydrate (ATH),
MgOH2, borates, and antimony trioxide.
Where the growth appears most
promising is in regions which are experiencing an upgrade in
end product quality and thus demand high quality raw materials
for their manufacture.
This seems to be the case in
Russia, and is all the more interesting to mineral developers
since the country has a dearth of domestic flame retardant
In Russia, there is a major
drive to reduce the flammability of products, and especially
lower the smoke and poisonous gases of burning polymers that
are used in construction, electronics, and many other
In 2008, the total Russian
market in flame retardants was 9,900 tonnes, and about 75% was
estimated as imported.
The annual volume consumption of
ATH and MgOH2 in Russia is some 5,000-6,000 tonnes.
The crucial fact here is that all this material is presently
Russia clearly has a distinct
lack flame retardant mineral production. Many forms of flame
retardants are not produced in the country, including:
bromine-based flame retardants, high-quality ATH,
MgOH2, and several phosphorated flame
Over the last three years the
domestic flame retardants market has steadily grown 11-13% per
annum. On 22 July 2008, Russia passed Federal Law No.F3-123,
which increased fire safety and a new GOST certification for
construction work and the manufacture of cable which stiffened
requirements for fireproof and non-toxic products.
This new legislation is expected
to stimulate growth in the flame retardant market and perhaps
accelerate market growth.
Certainly this is the opinion of
Rusnano. Dionis Gordin, managing director and member of the
executive board of Rusnano said: The volume of flame
retardants consumed in the country is growing at a rate of
10-20% per year.
The global market for flame
retardants is also expanding, with 1.15m. tonnes sold in 2008.
The EU and the USA are the primary producers and consumers of
flame retardants, accounting for 50% of the market.
Sales estimates for 2009,
despite the economic turndown, are forecast to be at a similar
level. Market growth is expected in 2010, and by 2015 the
worlds market for flame retardants could reach 1.55m.
Most non-halogenated flame retardant cables contain 60% wt.
metal hydroxides (ie. ATH or Mg(OH)2) and 40% wt.
polymers and other additives. So should the Nikochem/Rusnano
project yield a competitively priced MgOH2 grade,
there is a market opporunity to be pursued.
Nikochem arrived on the magnesia
market in 2007, when subsidiary JSC NikoMag commissioned a
$2.28m., 30,000 tpa magnesium chloride plant in early 2007 at
the site of chlor-alkali subsidiary JSC Kaustik.
In 2008, plans were laid for
production of 20,000 tpa of Mg(OH)2 and 15,000 tpa
Raw material is sourced from the
magnesia-rich brine bischofite deposits of Svetly Yar, hosting
some 50m. tonnes of magnesia reserves, mined under long-term
contract by LLC MagMine. As by-products, bromine will be
produced out of the bischofite solution with a capacity of
3,000 tpa, and granulated calcium chloride production capacity
will increase to 140,000 tpa.
The MgCl2 flake plant attained full production
capacity in early 2009. Target markets include applications in
de-icing, construction, hydrotalcite, chemical compounds,
drilling, rubber, and balneology in Russia, CIS countries,
Europe, and Asia.