PFP is a producer of ferronickel established in 1972 as a Soviet state enterprise in Pobugskoe, in the Kirovograd region of Ukraine to produce ferromanganese, ferromolybdenum, ferronickel, ferrosilicon, and other ferroalloys. Due to the low profitability of processing locally mined low-grade nickel ores, the plant had been in receivership and was idle for over three years prior to its acquisition by Solway Investment Group in 2003.
Solway implemented a modernization plan for PFP in 2004, and PFP resumed production in 2005. The facility was converted to focus on the production of a single commodity: ferronickel produced from laterite nickel ores imported from Indonesia and New Caledonia, and later, from Solway’s project in Guatemala.
Today, PFP is the only ferronickel producer in Ukraine. A leader in the global market, PFP is presently the largest producer of FeNi in Europe, benefiting from a secure nickel ore resource base and low production costs. PFP supplies the stainless steel sector, and has a strong, ongoing commitment to its social responsibility to the local community. The plant currently has an annual production capacity of over 22,000 metric tons of Ni and over 1,100 thousand metric tons of dry laterite ore.
Since 2003, Solway has invested over US $200 million into modernizing PFP. The modernization process included rebuilding the electric furnace and installing rotary kilns and waste heat recovery technology. Solway engaged Hatch Engineering to perform a feasibility study for the reconstruction of the plant’s furnaces in 2011, which resulted in a 29% increase in production capacity. In 2013-14, Solway invested US $15 million to improve the plant’s operating efficiency through energy-saving initiatives, including the installation of waste heat recovery units and a switch to pulverized coal. Further improvements are scheduled, including upgrades of the gas-cleaning and dust removal systems.
In 2017, the plant launched a long-term project for the reconstruction of the third stage of the gas treatment facility for the No. 1 and No. 2 tubular kilns on the tubular rotary furnace. The first stage of construction was completed in 2018; the gas cleaning of tubular rotary furnace No. 1 was transferred temporarily through the installation of a gas fan. This allowed the second stage of this project to be completed without stopping the main production facility. Total expenditures (the cost of equipment purchased and works performed) equaled USD 1.7 million.
In recent years, Solway contributed significantly to improving the quality of life in the neighboring Ukrainian town of Pobugskoe. The Group helped to improve local infrastructure, provided educational grants, offered low-interest loans, and made charitable donations to fund local culture, sports, and healthcare. Over 1,700 local residents are employed by PFP and hundreds of local contractors are also engaged to service the plant. The group has invested a total of US $6.7 million in the social infrastructure of Pobugskoe as of the end of 2018.
PFP has been granted international certificates of environmental management systems ISO 14001, occupational health and safety management systems OHSAS 18001 and quality management system ISO 9001. It is currently in the process of receiving occupational health and safety management systems ISO 45001 certification.