LONDON (ICIS)--EuroChem has produced its first muriate of potash (MOP) fertilizer, the Russian major announced on Tuesday, and remains on course to enter the market in the second quarter.
The initial test volumes were processed at EuroChem’s Usolskiy site in Perm, Russia, as part of the 2.3m tonne/year mine's commissioning process.
EuroChem CEO Dmitry Strezhnev said: “We are now focused on completing commissioning and ramping up to commercial production, targeting about 450,000 tonnes of finished product before the end of the year.”
The producer also holds a licence to develop the VolgaKaliy potash project - also in Russia - where first production of marketable product is expected later this year.
To-date, the Russian major has invested around $4.13bn in the two mines.
Potash producers are watching developments in Russia with great interest, especially as the market has been tight of late, putting upward pressure on prices.
There are concerns EuroChem’s entry into the competitive MOP market could upset the status quo - especially if the company does not practice production control to the same extent as its competitors, which include Belarus Potash, Canadian MOP marketing major Canpotex, and Russian rival Uralkali.