Review of minerals resources

The Board of Directors
Joint Stock Company Uralkali
63 Pyatiletki Street
Berezniki
618426
Perm Territory
Russian Federation
SRK Consulting (UK) Limited
5th Floor Churchill House
17 Churchill Way
City and County of Cardiff
CF10 2HH, Wales
United Kingdom
E-mail: enquiries@srk.co.uk
URL: www.srk.co.uk
Tel: + 44 (0) 2920 348 150
Fax: + 44 (0) 2920 348 199


Dear Sirs, RE: Review of the Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves of Public Joint Stock Company Uralkali located in the Russian Federation



1. Introduction

This is a report to confirm that SRK Consulting (UK) Limited (SRK) has reviewed all of the key information on which the most recently (1 January 2016) reported Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve statements for the mining assets of Public Joint Stock Company Uralkali (Uralkali or the Company) are based. Specifically it sets out SRK’s view regarding the tonnes and grade of rock which has the potential to be mined by the existing and planned mining operations (the Mineral Resource), the quantity of product expected to be produced as envisaged by the respective Business Plan (the Ore Reserve) and the work done to derive these. SRK has not independently re-calculated Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve estimates for Uralkali’s operations but has, rather, reviewed the quantity and quality of the underlying data and the methodologies used to derive and classify the estimates as reported by Uralkali and made an opinion on these estimates including the tonnes, grade and quality of the potash planned to be exploited in the current mine plan, based on this review. SRK has then used this knowledge to derive audited resource and reserve statements according to the guidelines and terminology proposed in the JORC Code (2012 version).

This report presents both the existing Uralkali resource estimates according to Russian standard reporting terminology and guidelines and SRK’s audited JORC Code statements. All of these estimates are dated as of 1 January 2016. During 2011, Uralkali merged with JSC Silvinit (Silvinit) and the assets owned by Silvinit now fall under the ownership of Uralkali. SRK has restricted its assessment to the resources and reserves at Berezniki 2, Berezniki 4 and Ust-Yayvinsky (Uralkali’s original assets) and Solikamsk 1, Solikamsk 2, Solikamsk 3 and Polovodovsky (the former Silvinit assets now under the ownership of Uralkali).

In addition to this, Uralkali acquired an exploration licence during 2014, termed Romanov, which covers an area to the south of the current Berezniki operations. SRK understands this licence area was explored historically and is currently estimated to have resources classified in the Russian P1 and P2 categories. SRK understands that Uralkali has plans in place to undertake further exploration drilling on this licence and to then re-estimate the resources based on this drilling in due course and with a view to increasing the confidence in the assigned classification. SRK considers there to be insufficient data currently available to report these P1 and P2 resources as Mineral Resources as defined by the JORC Code in this case and therefore this licence is not discussed any further in this report. Table 11: Uralkali Licence Summary below summarises the current licence status for each of the assets noted above.

Table 1-1: Uralkali Licence Summary

Deposit Registration
No.
Expiry Date Licence Type Area (KM2)
Berezniki 2 2546 1st January 2021 Mining2 67,25
Berezniki 4 2545 1st January 2018 Mining1 183,60
Ust-Yayvinsky 2543 15 April 2024 Exploration and Mining3 83,31
Solikamsk 1 2547 1st January 2018 Mining1 44,47
Solikamsk 2 2548 1st January 2021 Mining2 50,38
Solikamsk 3 2549 1st January 2018 Mining2 110,01
Polovodovsky 2551 1 July 2028 Exploration and Mining2 381,01
Romanov 2550 25 July 2039 Exploration and Mining3 58,07
Solikamsk 1 2541 6 April 2035 Exploration and Mining4 8,58

1 - Калийные соли, соли магния и каменная соль

2 - Калийные соли и каменная соль

3 - Калийные соли и соли магния

4 - Соли магния


SRK has been provided with copies of the licences above and has confirmed that the Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves stated in this report fall within the boundaries of such licences. SRK notes that all licences have been re-issued during 2015 with new licence numbers due to a re-naming of the Company to Public Joint Stock Company Uralkali, however, Uralkali has confirmed that the expiry dates and terms and conditions of these are unchanged. Further, SRK notes that a new licence for mining of carnalite ore has been issued during 2015 (#2541) which relates to an area adjacent to Solikamsk-1 and the extreme western portion of Soliamsk-3. Uralkali has indicated that this material would be accessed for mining of carnalite from the existing infrastructure of Solikamsk-1 and therefore SRK has reported this material in the estimates given for this mine.

The licenses for all of the operating and development mines will expire within the term of the 20 year Business Plan, even though some of these mines are planned to continue operating beyond this time and have resources and reserves to support this. SRK, however, considers it reasonable to assume that Uralkali will obtain extensions to these licences in due course on application as long as it continues to fulfil its licence obligations.

2. Quantity and Quality of Data

2.1 Original Uralkali Operations

The resource and reserve estimates derived by Uralkali are primarily based on exploration drilling undertaken between 1972 and 1998. A specially laid out drilling programme was developed for each mine with the aim of enabling 10% of the contained resources to be assigned to the A category of resources as defined by the Russian Reporting Code, 20% to the B category and 70% to the C1 category.

The A category is the highest category in the Russian Reporting Code and only used where the stated tonnage and grade estimates are considered to be known to a very high degree of accuracy. The B, C1 and C2 categories are lower confidence categories, with C2 denoting the least level of confidence in the three categories. All of these categories, apart from C2, are acceptable for use in supporting mining plans and feasibility studies. In the case of the Uralkali assets, blocks have been assigned to the A category where the drillhole spacing is less than 1km, to the B category where the drillhole spacing is between 1 and 2km and to the C1 category where the drillhole spacing is 2km. Areas drilled at a larger spacing than this, up to a 4km spacing, have been assigned to the C2 category, although only a very small proportion of Uralkali’s resources have been categorised as such.

As a result of the above process, each mine is typically drilled on a 2 km by 2 km grid or less before a decision is taken to develop the mine. This information is, however, then supplemented by underground drilling once the access development is in place. This typically creates a grid of intersections measuring 400 m by 200 m. While Uralkali does not regularly upgrade the categorisation of its resources based on this drilling, which it rather uses to optimise the mining layouts, it does periodically undertake a re-estimation calculation on specific areas and will take into account the available data from this underground drilling in doing this where relevant. The most recent update of the estimation for Berezniki-4 for example was undertaken in 2006.

The drillholes, whether drilled from surface or underground, are sampled at intervals of at least 16cm and the samples are crushed and milled under the control of the geology department to produce an approximate 100 g sample prior to submission to the laboratory. Assaying is carried out at an in-house laboratory. Approximately 5-6% of samples are repeat assayed internally while a similar percentage are sent to an independent third party external laboratory located in Berezniki (JSC Persil) for check assaying. All assaying is by classical wet chemistry techniques.

2.2 Former Silvinit Operations

These deposits were discovered in 1925 and each has been subjected to a number of exploration and drilling campaigns as follows:

  • Solikamsk-1 – 7 phases between 1925 and 1990 (including exploration outside the current mining lease);
  • Solikamsk-2 – 7 phases between 1925 and 2002 (including exploration outside the current mining lease); and
  • Solikamsk-3 – 7 phases between 1957 and 1975;

The resource and reserve estimates are therefore primarily based on exploration drilling undertaken between 1925 and 2002. There is no exploration drilling currently being undertaken from surface at the operating mines, however, exploration drilling has recently been undertaken at the Polovodovsky prospect and the resource estimate for this asset has been updated in two phases of work during 2013 and 2014 and this updated estimated supersedes the original estimate undertaken in 1975. Exploration has generally been undertaken by State enterprises based in Solikamsk and Berezniki although the recent drilling at Polovodovsky has been undertaken by a third party contractor.

The total number of exploration holes and metres drilled at each mine/prospect is as follows:

  • Solikamsk-1 – 53 holes for some 18,600 m;
  • Solikamsk-2 – 192 holes for some 5,700 m (of which some 95 are from underground);
  • Solikamsk-3 – 117 holes for some 45,250 m; and
  • Polovodovsky – 152 holes for some 50,800 m up to 1975 and 36 holes for some 12,650m between 2009 and 2012.

The diamond drillholes, whether drilled from surface or underground, were drilled with a diameter of either 92 mm or 112 mm for surface holes and 50-76 mm for underground holes. Holes were sampled at intervals between 10 cm and 6 m, averaging between 105 cm to 130 cm. Core recovery through the sylvinite horizons is reported to be good at an average of 84-85%, while the recovery through the carnallite horizon at Solikamsk 1 is reported to be 74%.

Core is split in half with one half retained for reference and the other half crushed, milled and split under the control of the geology department to produce a small sample (100 g) for submission to the laboratory for assay. Assaying is carried out at an in house laboratory using classical wet chemistry techniques. Approximately 5-6% of samples are repeat assayed internally while a similar percentage are sent to an independent third party external laboratory located in Berezniki (JSC Persil) for check assaying, which SRK understands to be at the neighbouring Uralkali mine laboratory. A total of 423 samples have to date been taken for density measurements using the water displacement method.

In the case of these former Silvinit mines, blocks have been assigned to the A category where the drillhole spacing is less than 1,200m, to the B category where the drillhole spacing is up to 2,400m and to the C1 category where the drillhole spacing is up to 4,000 m. Areas drilled at a larger spacing than this, but on average with a spacing of no less than 4,000 m have been assigned to the C2 category. Each mine is drilled on an approximate 2.4km by 2.4km grid or less before a decision is taken to develop the mine. This information is, however, then supplemented by underground drilling once the access development is in place. This typically creates a grid of intersections measuring from 100m by 300m or in cases up to 400 m by 800 m. As is the case with Uralkali, Silvinit did not upgrade the estimation or categorisation of its resources based on this underground drilling on a regular basis but rather used this to optimise the mining layouts. Notwithstanding this, a full re-estimation calculation was undertaken by Silvinit in 2006 (see below) for the Solikamsk mines and this took into account the available data from underground drilling where relevant.

Table 3-1: Uralkali Sylvinite Mineral Resource Statement at 1 January 2016

Mine Category Tonnage
(Mt)
K2O
(%)
K2O
(Mt)
Berezniki 2 A 7,7 33,7 2,6
B 47,6 23,2 11,0
C1 175,5 25,1 44,1
A+B+C1 230,8 25,0 57,7
C2 - - -
Berezniki 4 A 236,8 22,1 52,3
B 411,1 22,6 92,8
C1 1 003,1 20,6 206,8
A+B+C1 1 651,0 21,3 351,8
C2 310,3 26,8 83,3
Ust-Yayvinsky A 169,9 19,0 32,3
B 311,0 19,8 61,7
C1 809,7 19,8 160,4
A+B+C1 1 290,6 19,7 254,4
C2 - - -
Solikamsk 1 A 96,1 18,0 17,3
B 13,3 15,8 2,1
C1 165,4 17,1 28,4
A+B+C1 274,8 17,4 47,8
C2 - - -
Solikamsk 2 A 77,6 19,0 14,7
B 77,7 13,9 10,8
C1 842,8 17,5 147,7
A+B+C1 998,1 17,4 173,2
C2 - - -
Solikamsk 3 A 98,1 17,6 17,3
B 196,8 16,8 33,1
C1 1 005,0 17,2 172,8
A+B+C1 1 299,9 17,2 223,2
C2 - - -
Polovodovsky A - - -
B 312,8 17,1 53,6
C1 1 262,9 16,6 210,0
A+B+C1 1 575,7 16,7 263,5
Summary All Mines C2 - - -
A 686,3 19,9 136,5
B 1 370,3 19,3 265,1
C1 5 264,4 18,4 970,0
A+B+C1 7 320,9 18,7 1 371,6
C2 310,3 26,8 83,3

Table 3-2: Uralkali Carnalite Mineral Resource Statement at 1 January 2016

Mine Category Tonnage
(Mt)
MgO
(%)
MgO
(Mt)
Solikamsk 1 A 110,3 10,1 11,1
B 19,5 8,8 1,7
C1 55,1 8,1 4,5
A+B+C1 184,9 9,3 17,3
C2 - - -

3. Resource Estimation

3.1 Introduction

The most up to date resource statements produced by Uralkali are those derived for the annual 5GR reports produced this year which give the status as of 1 January 2016. The completion of 5GR reports is a statutory requirement. These estimates were produced using standard classical Russian techniques and are essentially based on calculations made in previous years and adjusted for mining during 2015. Given the current estimates reported herein are being produced before the end of 2015 and formal submission of 5GR reports by Uralkali, SRK notes that for the purposes of these estimates the depletion for mining is based on actual data for January to October inclusive and forecast data for November and December. This section therefore comments primarily on these statements.

The first resource estimates undertaken and approved for each of the former Silvinit operations were as follows:

  • Solikamsk 1 and 2 – 1952;
  • Solikamsk 3 – 1962; and;
  • Polovodovsky – 1975

The resource estimates at each of the active mines have undergone various updates since this time, the most recent of which was in 2006. These estimates were approved by the State Committee for Reserves and take into account all surface and underground drilling data available at that time. As noted above, additional exploration drilling has recently been undertaken at Polovodovsky, and the original estimate produced in 1975 has been updated during 2013 and 2014.

3.2 Estimation Methodology

Each seam and each mine is treated separately in the resource estimation procedure. In each case the horizons are first divided into blocks such that each sub-divided block has reasonably consistent borehole spacing within it; that is more intensely drilled areas are subdivided from less intensely drilled areas. Each resulting “resource block” is then evaluated separately using the borehole intersections falling within that block only.

Specifically, composited K2O and MgO grades are derived for each borehole that intersected each block and mean grades are then derived for each block by simply calculating a length weighted average of all of these composited intersections. No top cuts are applied and all intersections are allocated the same weighting.

A separate plan is produced for each seam showing the results of the above calculations, the lateral extent of each sub block, and any areas where the seams are not sufficiently developed. The aerial coverage of each block is then used with the mean thickness of the contained intersections to derive a block volume. The tonnage for each block is then derived from this by applying a specific gravity factor calculated by averaging all of the specific gravity determinations made from samples within that block.

The data for each resulting block is plotted on a Horizontal Longitudinal Projection (HLP). This shows the horizontal projection of the extent of each block as well as its grade and contained tonnage. The HLP also shows the block classification, this being effectively a reflection of the confidence of the estimated tonnes and grade.

3.3 Uralkali Resource Statements

Table 3-1: Uralkali Sylvinite Mineral Resource Statement at 1 January 2016 below summarises SRK’s understanding of the sylvinite resource statements prepared by Uralkali to reflect the status of its assets as of 1 January 2016. Uralkali’s statements are based on a minimum seam thickness of 2m and a minimum block grade which, dependent on the mine, varies between 11.4% K2O (Polovodovsky) and 15.5% K2O (Ust-Yayvinsky). Table 32 below summarises SRK’s understanding of the carnalite resource statement prepared by Uralkali to reflect the status of its assets as of 1 January 2016. Uralkali’s carnalite statements (Solikamsk-1 only) are based on a minimum seam thickness of 2m and a minimum block grade of 7.2% MgO.

SRK notes that while Mineral Resources for carnalite are only shown in this report at Solikamsk-1, as this is the only operation that is currently mining and processing such and where there is a plan to mine this in the future as is reflected in the Business Plan, there is carnalite present at other Uralkali sites, in particular at Ust-Yayvinsky. This has been estimated by Urakali and been assigned generally to B and C1 classification categories, however, as there is no plan currently to exploit this material at present then this mineralisation has been excluded from this report.

Table 3-3: SRK Audited Sylvinite Mineral Resource Statement at 1 January 2016

Category Tonnage
(Mt)
K2O
(%)
K2O
(Mt)
Berezniki 2
Measured 55,3 24,6 13,6
Indicated 175,5 25,1 44,1
Measured + Indicated 230,8 25,0 57,7
Inferred - - -
Berezniki 4
Measured 647,9 22,4 145,0
Indicated 1 003,1 20,6 206,8
Measured + Indicated 1 651,0 21,3 351,8
Inferred 310,3 26,8 83,3
Ust- Yayvinsky
Measured 480,9 19,5 94,0
Indicated 809,7 19,8 160,4
Measured + Indicated 1 290,6 19,7 254,4
Inferred - - -
Solikamsk 1
Measured 109,4 17,8 19,4
Indicated 165,4 17,1 28,4
Measured + Indicated 274,8 17,4 47,8
Inferred - - -
Solikamsk 2
Measured 145,3 16,5 24,0
Indicated 809,2 17,5 141,4
Measured + Indicated 954,5 17,3 165,3
Inferred - - -
Solikamsk 3
Measured 294,9 17,1 50,4
Indicated 1 005,0 17,2 172,8
Measured + Indicated 1 299,9 17,2 223,2
Inferred - - -
Polovodovsky
Measured 312,8 17,1 53,6
Indicated 1 262,9 16,6 210,0
Measured + Indicated 1 575,7 16,7 263,5
Inferred - - -
Summary All Mines
Measured 2 046,5 19,5 400,0
Indicated 5 230,9 18,4 963,7
Measured + Indicated 7 277,4 18,7 1 363,7
Inferred 310,3 26,8 83,3

Table 3-4: SRK Audited Carnalite Mineral Resource Statement at 1 January 2016

Category Tonnage
(Mt)
MgO
(%)
MgO
(Mt)
Solikamsk 1
Measured 129,8 9,9 12,8
Indicated 55,1 8,1 4,5
Measured + Indicated 184,9 9,3 17,3
Inferred - - -

3.4 SRK Audited Mineral Resource Statements

Table 3-3: SRK Audited Sylvinite Mineral Resource Statement at 1 January 2016 and Table 34 below present SRK’s audited Mineral Resource statements for sylvinite and carnalite respectively. SRK has reclassified the resource estimates using the terminology and guidelines proposed in the JORC Code. In doing this, SRK has reported those blocks classified as A or B by Uralkali as Measured, those blocks classified as C1 as Indicated and those blocks classed as C2 as Inferred. SRK’s audited Mineral Resource statements are reported inclusive of those Mineral Resources converted to Ore Reserves. The audited Ore Reserve is therefore a sub set of the Mineral Resource and should not be considered as additional to this.

SRK has not attempted to optimise Uralkali’s Business Plan. Consequently, SRK’s audited resource statements are confined to those seams that both have the potential to be mined economically and which are currently being considered for mining by Uralkali only.

3.5 SRK Comments

SRK has reviewed the estimation methodology used by Uralkali to derive the above estimates, and the geological assumptions made, and considers these to be reasonable given the information available. SRK has also undertaken various re-calculations both of individual blocks and seams as a whole and has in all cases found no material errors or omissions.

Overall, SRK considers the resource estimates reported by Uralkali to be a reasonable reflection of the total quantity and quality of material demonstrated to be present at the assets and which has potential to be exploited as of 1 January 2016.

The audited Mineral Resource statement as at 1 January 2016 presented above is different to that presented as at 1 January 2015. This is partly a function of mining activity during 2015 and some minor reassessments completed during the year by Uralkali. The most significant change to the Mineral Resource statement, however, relates to the inclusion of additional carnallite resources falling within the new licence (#2541) acquired during the year.

For the purposes of the carnalite Mineral Resources presented above, this is now the combined total of licence #2541 and #2547. For the purposes of SRK’s reporting of the Mineral Resource in Table 3-3: SRK Audited Sylvinite Mineral Resource Statement at 1 January 2016 in accordance with the JORC Code, it is noted that there is a difference of some 43.6Mt between this and the Mineral Resource as reported by Uralkali in Table 3-1: Uralkali Sylvinite Mineral Resource Statement at 1 January 2016 for Solikamsk-2. SRK has reduced the Mineral Resource of Solikamsk-2 by this amount as a result of the water inflow incident which is described further below in Section 4.4. The removal of this material relates to the area where a new inter-mine isolation pillar will be left to protect the southernmost area of Solikamsk-2.

4. Ore reserve Estimation

4.1 Introduction

Uralkali does not report reserves as these are typically defined by reporting guidelines and terminology developed in Europe, North America and Australia; that is, estimates of the tonnage and grade of total material that is planned to be delivered to the various processing plants over the life of the mine. SRK has therefore derived estimates of such using historical information supplied by Uralkali and gained during its site visits regarding the mining losses and dilution experienced during mining to date. SRK has also restricted the resulting estimates to those areas planned to be mined by Uralkali in its Business Plan during the next 20 years from 2016 to 2035 inclusive. The Business Plan assumes that Uralkali will successfully re-negotiate its Licences and the Ore Reserve Statements therefore also assume this will be the case.

4.2 Modifying Factors

The Modifying Factors applicable to the derivation of reserves comprise estimates for ore losses and planned and unplanned dilution associated with the separation of the ore and waste. This is normally a function of the orebody characteristics and mining methods selected.

The Modifying Factors considered by SRK to be appropriate for the sylvinite and carnalite being mined at each of the assets are shown below in Table 4-1: SRK Modifying Factors below. The Tonnage Conversion Factor takes into account both the percentage of material left behind in pillars and the amount of dilution included when mining the ore and is applied to the in situ resource tonnage to derive the tonnage of material expected to be delivered to the plants. The K2O/ MgO Grade Conversion Factor accounts for the difference in grade between the in situ resource and the above plant feed tonnage as a result of incorporation within the latter of waste extracted along with this and is therefore applied to the in situ grade to derive the grade of ore expected to be delivered to the plants.

Uralkali undertakes an annual reconciliation to compare the ore tonnes mined each year with the resource that has been sterilised by this mining and it is these figures for the last 8 to 10 years that SRK has reviewed to derive Tonnage Conversion Factor. Similarly Uralkali keeps a record of the in situ grade of the material sterilised by mining each year and SRK has compared these with the grade of material reported to have been fed to the plants over the last 8 to 10 years to derive the Grade Conversion Factor. Given this, SRK is confident that the Modifying Factors used reflect the geometry of the orebodies being mined and the mining methods currently being used.

Table 4-1: SRK Modifying Factors

Description Tonnage Conversion Factor (%) Grade Conversion Factor (%)
Solikamsk 1 (sylvinite) 41% 92%
Solikamsk 1 (carnalite) 31% 97%
Solikamsk 2 46% 88%
Solikamsk 3 51% 88%
Berezniki 2 36% 82%
Berezniki 4 44% 88%
Ust-Yayvinsky 37% 85%

4.3 SRK Audited Reserve Statements

As with its audited Mineral Resource statements, SRK’s Ore Reserve statements have been re-classified using the terminology and guidelines proposed in the JORC Code. To facilitate this, SRK has been provided with actual production and operating cost data for 2009 to 2015 and a revised production forecast for 2016 to 2035 inclusive reflecting Uralkali’s current plans regarding the refurbishment of some existing processing facilities and also the installation of additional facilities.

SRK’s audited Ore Reserve statement is therefore confined to those seams that are currently being considered for mining within the next 20 years only. Specifically, SRK has classed that material reported in the tables above as a Measured Mineral Resource, and which is planned to be exploited within the first ten years of the Business Plan, as a Proved Ore Reserve; and that material reported in the tables above as an Indicated Mineral Resource, and which is planned to be exploited within the Business Plan, and also that material reported above as a Measured Mineral Resource, but which is planned to be mined during the second 10 years of the Business Plan, as a Probable Ore Reserve.

SRK’s Ore Reserve statement does not include any material from Polovodovsky, however, it does include an Ore Reserve for Ust-Yayvinsky which is currently under construction. In the case of Polovodovsky, the feasibility studies are on-going. In the case of Ust-Yayvinsky, however, the work has been completed to an advanced stage, detailed project documentation has been completed and the necessary permits are in place. Furthermore, work on shaft construction has commenced and is in progress. SRK has derived Ore Reserve estimates for Ust-Yayvinsky using information obtained from Uralkali but also taking cognisance of the historical information regarding the mining losses and dilution experienced during mining to date at Uralkali’s existing operations.

SRK can confirm that the Ore Reserve Statements presented in Table 4-2: SRK Audited Sylvinite Ore Reserve Statement at 1 January 2016 and Table 43 below, for sylvinite and carnalite respectively, have been derived from the resource blocks provided to SRK and incorporate sufficient estimates for ore losses and dilution based on actual historical data. The break-even price required to support this statement over the period of the business plan is between US$60-75/tonne product produced, in January 2016 terms. This is calculated as the price required to cover all cash operating costs but excluding distribution costs (i.e. all on site mining, processing, maintenance and G&A operating costs). SRK notes that the break-even price has reduced significantly in US$ terms from that estimated historically by SRK and this is a result of the significant change in inflation and exchange rates during the course of 2014 and 2015. SRK estimates that if these both returned to levels seen before 2014 then the break-even price would be in the region of US$90-110/tonne product.

Table 4-2: SRK Audited Sylvinite Ore Reserve Statement at 1 January 2016

Category Tonnage
(Mt)
K2O
(%)
K2O
(Mt)
Berezniki 2
Proven 19,9 20,2 4,0
Probable 61,8 20,6 12,7
Total 81,7 20,5 16,8
Berezniki 4
Proven 162,1 19,7 31,9
Probable 163,0 19,3 31,5
Total 325,1 19,5 63,4
Ust- Yayvinsky
Proven 53,8 16,6 8,9
Probable 110,0 16,7 18,4
Total 163,8 16,7 27,3
Solikamsk 1
Proven 44,9 16,3 7,3
Probable 47,1 15,8 7,4
Total 91,9 16,1 14,8
Solikamsk 2
Proven 66,8 14,5 9,7
Probable 101,6 15,4 15,6
Total 168,4 15,1 25,3
Solikamsk 3
Proven 133,6 15,0 20,1
Probable 137,4 15,1 20,8
Total 271,0 15,1 40,9
Polovodovsky
Proven - - -
Probable - - -
Total - - -
Summary All Mines
Proven 481,1 17,0 82,0
Probable 620,8 17,1 106,4
Total 1 102,0 17,1 188,4

Table 4-3: SRK Audited Carnalite Ore Reserve Statement at 1 January 2016

Category Tonnage
(Mt)
MgO
(%)
MgO
(Mt)
Solikamsk 1
Proven 12,8 9,6 1,2
Probable - - -
Total 12,8 9,6 1,2

SRK can also confirm that no Inferred Mineral Resources have been converted to Ore Reserves and notes that the Mineral Resource statements reported above are inclusive of, and therefore include, those Mineral Resources used to generate the Ore Reserves.

The large difference between SRK’s audited Mineral Resource statement and its audited Ore Reserve statement is partly a function of the relatively low mining recovery inherent in the Room and Pillar mining method employed and partly a function of the fact that SRK has limited the Ore Reserve statement to that portion of the Mineral Resource on which an appropriate level of technical work has been completed. In this case this relates to the period covered by the 20 years of Uralkali’s Business Plan.

Notwithstanding this, SRK considers that the actual life of some of the mines will extend beyond the current 20 year period covered by the Business Plan. In particular, at the currently assumed production rates, the following mines have the potential to extend beyond that covered by the current 20 year Business Plan approximately as follows:

  • Berezniki 4: 22 years
  • Solikamsk 1: 5 years
  • Solikamsk 2: 27 years
  • Solikamsk 3: 28 years

Furthermore, Ust-Yayvsinky is assumed to commence production in 2020, and while it is therefore operational over 16 years of the 20 years covered by the Business Plan, at the currently assumed forecast steady state production rates it has the potential to continue production for an additional 16 years beyond this.

4.4 SRK Comments

While the overall audited Ore Reserve statement as at 1 January 2016 presented above has a similar total tonnage to that presented as at 1 January 2015, individual differences at each individual mine are as a result of mining during 2015, the extension of, and revisions to, the forecast mined tonnages in the Uralkali Business Plan to 2035 and the revisions to the Mineral Resource statements commented upon earlier in this report.

While the previous Ore Reserve statement as at 1 January 2015 had a significant change compared to the prior statement as at 1 January 2014, due to the water inflow incident at Solikamsk-2, SRK understands that this is now under control and as such the Business Plan which influences the current Ore Reserve statement is largely the same as the Business Plan which influenced the previous Ore Reserve statement. The current Business Plan reflects a reduction in the assumed mined tonnages between 2016 and 2021 to account for this incident. With regards to the reduction in mined tonnages at Solikamsk-2 noted above, on 18 November 2014, a sudden water inflow event occurred underground in Solikamsk-2 associated with a collapse in the overlying strata and development of a sinkhole at surface. This occurred in the northern extremity of the Solikamks-2 licence area. A number of responses by Uralkali included:

  • Revisions to the overall mine planning and scheduling;
  • Installation of a groundwater dewatering ring at surface (commissioned February 2015);
  • A change in the mine development plan at Solikamsk-2 with a “new Solikamsk-2” mine now planned to be established which will be fully separated from the Solikamsk-2 mine by an inter-mine isolation pillar. This has resulted in the requirement for a new shaft to service the “new Solikamsk-2” mine;
  • Further measures to reinforce the existing bulkheads between Solikamsk-2 and Solikamsk-1 mines to prevent water ingress between the two in the event of complete flooding of the former;
  • Backfilling measures in order to minimise potential future subsidence impacts to surface infrastructure including railway lines;
  • Measures to minimise water inflow including the installation of a surface conveyor delivering clay material in to the sinkhole to fill the void to a certain level and the drilling of additional holes around the sink hole into which a mixture of clay and cement is pumped to fill voids; and
  • Increased surface monitoring of the collapse zone and new underground seismograph monitoring stations.

On-going monitoring during 2015 has indicated that the measures put in place have controlled the inflow and that with these measures in place, Uralkali is confident it can continue mining the Solikamsk-2 mine from the existing infrastructure for another 6 to 7 years. Although SRK understands that the Solikamsk-2 sinkhole has occurred in an area of old workings and has not directly affected the production areas currently located in the southern part of the licence area, production capacity has been impacted by:

  • The installation of emergency pumping facilities at the shaft;
  • Working areas being restricted to those panels located immediately north of intermine isolation pillar noted above;
  • Stopping development into new working areas located south of the southern barrier pillar; and
  • A preference to mitigate against future production losses in the event that production from Solikamsk-2 has to be halted completely.

For the purposes of the current Business Plan, Uralkali has therefore assumed that for the next 6 years, mine production from Solikamsk-2 will be restricted to 4.8Mtpa compared to a potential current capacity of 10Mtpa. By 2022 it is assumed that the mine production will increase to 10Mtpa following the sinking of a new shaft complex to service the “‘new Solikamsk-2” mine. While SRK accepts the changes made to the current Business Plan to reflect this issue, SRK considers there remains a risk that the flooding event cannot be fully controlled over the full duration of the next 6 years which would result in the current shaft at Solikamsk-2 becoming inoperable. Were this to occur, then the Ore Reserve at Solikamsk-2 could reduce further than reported herein and no production would be able to occur from this mine until the new shaft complex has been constructed, which will take some 6-7 years to complete. Uralkali has assumed that a new shaft complex can be constructed and be operational by 2022, which while SRK considers to be aggressive, could be achievable assuming no issues arise during the design, permitting and construction process and given that Uralkali can apply its recent experience on such undertakings for the construction of the Ust-Yayvinsky mine which is currently underway.

In addition to the above, the 20 year Business Plan includes a number of expansions to both the Uralkali and former Silvinit operations (the capital costs of which have been taken into account in Uralkali’s Business Plan and which SRK has taken account of in determining the economics of the operations) and as such the Ore Reserve reported here takes into account the additional amount of material planned to be mined over this period. SRK notes that the forecast production assumptions at some of the mines and processing facilities are somewhat higher than that actually achieved in the last few years but understands that this reduced production rate has primarily been driven by the prevailing market conditions rather than capacity constraints at the various operations. SRK therefore assumes that the forecast increase in production levels at each of the facilities is warranted and justified based on Uralkali’s market expectations going forward.

SRK has reviewed the expansions proposed by Uralkali and considers the work proposed and the timeline assumed for the work to be completed to be generally reasonable and achievable. Further, while SRK has not reviewed the capital cost estimates in detail, SRK is confident that these are justified based on Uralkali’s current price forecasts. In some cases, the expansion projects are already underway and some of the increases to processing capacities are assumed to be achieved by de-bottlenecking the existing facilities in addition to upgrading and adding new equipment and processing lines. SRK notes that in order to achieve these increases in production, Uralkali will need to ensure that sufficient resources, management and staffing are available given that many of these expansions are forecast to take place simultaneously and alongside major construction projects, such as that underway at Ust-Yayvinsky.

5. Concluding remarks

In SRK’s opinion the Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve statements as included herein are materially compliant with the JORC Code and are valid as at 1 January 2016. In accordance with additional reporting requirements of the latest version of the JORC Code (2012), included in an Appendix to this report are the JORC checklist tables which include additional details and commentary on “Sampling Techniques and Data”, “Estimation and Reporting of Mineral Resources” and “Estimation and Reporting of Ore Reserves”.

SRK considers that should the Ore Reserves as presented herein be re-stated in accordance with the reporting requirements of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), specifically Securities Act Industry Guide 7 (“Industry Guide 7”), such Ore Reserves would not be materially different. SRK however notes that certain terms as used in this letter, such as “resources” are prohibited when reporting in accordance with Industry Guide 7.

Yours Faithfully,
Dr Mike Armitage
Chairman & Corporate Consultant
(Resource Geology),
SRK Consulting (UK) Limited

Nick Fox
Principal Consultant
(Geology/Mineral Economics),
SRK Consulting (UK) Limited