The total volume of ore processed at PFP LLC in 2019 amounted to 1.353 million tons (94.6% of 2018 volume), which corresponded to 74.4 tons of ferronickel from ore raw materials (96.7% of 2018 volume) or 14.2 thousand tons of nickel (89.8% of 2018 volume). In the first quarter of 2019, overhaul maintenance of the main technological equipment was performed: on ore-thermal furnace No. 1 and on tubular rotary kiln No. 1. The main reason for the decrease in production volumes was operating at reduced capacity when PFP faced the need to eliminate the consequences of equipment failures during the heating of ore-thermal furnace No. 1 after the overhaul, and enhancement of the operational process of iron low reduction technology. Thus, the duration of repair with consideration for loading and heating of the ore-thermal furnace was 51 days, and 48 days for the tubular rotary kiln.
Nevertheless, with its 2019 results, PFP has shown a positive financial result, having generated a profit of UAH 67.5 million.
For 2020 (the fourth quarter of 2020), long-term major repairs of the main technological equipment are planned: ore-thermal furnace No. 2 (for information: duration of repair with consideration for loading and heating is 92 days) and tubular rotary furnace No. 3 (for information: duration of repair is 67 days). These repairs will lead to a certain reduction of production capacity and volume, but in the future will allow PFP to increase productivity and improve its financial results.
The planned volume of processed ore for 2020 is 1.335 million tons, ferronickel – 70.6 thousand tons, nickel – 15.1 thousand tons.
During the reporting period, the plant paid taxes to the budget of Ukraine in the amount of UAH 105.4 million. (116.8% compared to previous year). The single social contribution was equal to UAH 53.2 million (116.2% compared to the previous year) and UAH 42.6 million was paid in taxes on wages (115.7% compared to the previous year).
Since July 1, 2018, the wages of employees have increased by an average of 38% and have been differentiated for different categories of employees. In 2019, wage indexation was performed considering the level of inflation. Considering the requirements of the current legislation, additional payments to the minimum set level of UAH 4,173 were made. The average monthly wage in 2019 amounted to 10,656 UAH, which was14.0% higher than in 2018, and exceeded the average wage in Ukraine by 1.5%. Since January 2020, wages have been additionally increased by 10%.
In 2019, the total expenditures for maintenance of the social sphere of the town of Pobuzhske amounted to UAH 4.4 million (98.3% of the previous year’s amount). Moreover, PFP LLC spent UAH 6.4 million on sponsorship, cultural, social work, and improving the health of its employees (114.5% vs. the previous year). The plan for the first half of 2020 is UAH 3.3 million, for the entire year 2020: UAH 6.5 million.
Expenditures for personnel training in 2019 amounted to UAH 331.6 thousand, including studying at universities – UAH 52.7 thousand and personnel development – UAH 278.9 thousand. In 2019, 97 people were educated in a training course and acquired new professions, 36 people received another profession, and 167 people advanced their professional skills. One employee continues studying at a university full-time, and four people are on external degree programs. Planned expenditures for personnel training for the first half of 2020 are UAH 243.5 thousand, and for the whole year 2020 – UAH 500.0 thousand.
In 2019, UAH 82.5 million was spent on major repairs of the main technological equipment. The planned cost of major repairs of the main technological equipment in 2020 is UAH 167.1 million.
In 2019, investments in support of production capacity (purchases of equipment, machinery, construction, etc.) amounted to UAH 43.2 million. UAH 1.8 million was invested in environmental programs.
In 2017, the plant started a long-term project of reconstruction of the third stage of gas-cleaning equipment on tubular rotary kilns (TOP) No. 1 and No. 2. In 2018, the first stage of construction was completed (UAH 48.1 million): the transition of TOP-1 gas purification to a temporary scheme with the installation of a smoke extractor and the transfer of gas ducts to the chimney, which will allow performance of the second stage without stopping main production. In 2019, an auxiliary smoke exhauster was purchased and repair works were performed. The total cost (cost of equipment received and works performed in 2018-2019) amounted to UAH 58.0 million. Upon completion of the program, emissions will be reduced by 99.9%.
Starting on March 16, 2020, the enterprise introduced tightened health and sanitary control on the plant. In addition to the obligatory actions (limitations of physical contact and more frequent disinfection of working places, personnel facilities and the cabins of technological vehicles), employees of high-risk groups (aged 65 and older) have been asked to stay home on paid holiday in order for them to self-isolate during this period. The schedule of canteen and shower attendance has been changed to avoid gathering of a large number of people in one place at one time. The same is true for administrative meetings and conferences.
As of today, on the territory of the village of Pobuzhske, there are restrictions, imposed by the government for the period of isolation. The medical facilities have been provided with all necessary items, and the plant will help to replenish the stock if needed.
Pobuzhsky Ferronickel Plant:
Pobuzhsky Ferronickel Plant is the only enterprise in Ukraine producing ferronickel from poorly-oxidized ore containing shekel on an industrial scale. The enterprise is the main employer not only in the largest settlement of Golovanivskiy district, but also in the Kirovograd region. Currently more than 35% of the population of the village of Pobuzhske is employed at the plant.
In 2003, after a long downtime, a large international company, Solway Investment Group, acquired the assets of the company and restarted operations one year later. The Pobuzhsky Ferronickel Plant was transformed into the Pobuzhsky Ferro-Nickel Mill and the production of ferronickel was restored. The main raw material base for the production of ferronickel is imported ore. PFP is now fully integrated into Solway Investment Group’s production process. Diversification of the group’s assets helps to reduce the risk of external economic problems affecting the operating activities of individual entities which are part of the group due to synergies within the group. This is especially true for the nickel production segment. Solway Group’s total investment in the Pobuzhsky Ferro-Nickel Plant amounts to more than $130 million.