The USSR steel industry started to thrive in the 1930s. The richest deposits were discovered and mined out for coal and iron ore. Iron and steel melting necessitated manufacturing of materials that accompany metallurgy processes. One of these materials is graphite.
The information about marvelous Siberian graphite ore had been spreading since the late 19th century. This ore is distinct for its rarest natural property – high carbon content (up to 85%). This property allows to reduce graphite operational costs by several times because the ore does not require concentration.
Graphite ore deposits (the Kureyka Noginsk ones) in the mouth reach of the Yenisey river were discovered by M.K. Sidorov, a Krasnoyarsk merchant, in 1859. The Turukhansk graphite was displayed at Universal Exhibitions in 1862, 1867, 1873, 1876.
At a Universal Exhibition M.K. Sidorov was awarded with the bronze medal titled “For the spirit of enterprise shown while discovering the vast bed on the Yenisey riverbanks”.
It is notable that the famous traveler Fridtjof Nansen even sent a vessel with cargo of the Kureyka graphite ore to England.
The graphite factory was created at the dawn of the Krasnoyarsk region establishment. In May 1934 by the Decree of the Council of People's Commissars the factory started up in Krasnoyarsk city for the purpose of processing the Siberia’s Far North graphite ore into powder for iron & steel industry needs. Since those early days, with no delays the enterprise has been continuously providing foundries in Russia and former Soviet republics with its products. What is more, the Krasnoyarsk graphite is supplied to manufacturers of asbestos articles, rubber goods and other sectors. The amount of customers reached eight hundred enterprises and annual output ran to 42 thousand tonnes. Today, there have been reserved the established business ties to the major manufacturers such as Novolipetsk Steel, Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works, West-Siberian Metal Plant, Severstal, Fritex, Azovstal Iron & Steel Works, Techmet and others.
Providing steelmakers with extra graphite, Krasnoyarsk graphite factory helped Krasnoyarsk region to manufacture extra metal for the needs of industry and construction that thrived here in the 1970s & 1980s.
In May 2014 Krasnoyarskgrafit celebrated its eightieth anniversary. Since 1986 it has been headed by Aleksandr Mylko, Honoured Builder of the Russian Federation.
Like most Russian enterprises during “perestroika”1, and the shift to new market economic environment, Krasnoyarskgrafit experienced certain difficulties caused by a drop in industrial output, and low paying capacity of customers; offers of payment by means of barter, troubles in delivering the raw ore from the Far North, lack of working capital, etc. But owing to the fact that the team has been constantly searching for new modes and methods of work, improving customers relationships, finding and conquering new market niches, seeking out universal modes of payment, today Krasnoyarskgrafit flourishes: it has virtually no tax debts and solves social issues of its employees, taking care about retired ones and “veterans of labor”2 .
Most of the team are veteran professionals with a seniority of 10-30 years, who are well-versed in unique technology of production. Many of them have earned state decorations and sectoral honorary distinctions, letters of commendation from the Russian Federation State Committee for Construction.
The enterprise also focuses on environmental issues. There was even an idea to move Krasnoyarkgrafit outside the city boundaries, but after its employees had developed an innovative and efficient method of air treatment, polluting emissions decreased by a factor of 10.
Today, Krasnoyarskgrafit is the exclusive manufacturer and supplier of cryptocrystalline foundry graphite (GLS) for Russian and CIS steelmakers, foundries, manufacturers of asbestos articles, rubber goods and to other sectors.
Since 2002 the Kureyka deposit has become the source of raw materials, the mine is situated in Svetlogorsk settlement of Turukansk district at distance of 100 km from the Kureyka river junction into the Yenisey river.
Before the above date the Noginsk deposit on the Nizhnyaya Tunguska river used to be a source of the raw ore (underground method of mining).
In 2002 JSC Krasnoyarskgrafit won the tender for graphite deposit mining, held by the Regional Natural Resources Committee, and the enterprise was granted with the licence for 20 years.
The graphite ore occurrence depth is up to 23 m, its bed size varies from 2 to 15.8 m. Total reserves are estimated in the range of 990 thousand tonnes. The mining tenement area is 5.7 hectares. The deposit is at the distance of 1.500 km from Krasnoyarsk city. Open pit method of mining is applied.
The raw ore can be transported only during a short period of navigation when the Kureyka river is high.
The leading processing plant is the site covering 48 thousand sq. m (4.8 hectares). The processing line contains 25 buildings, 19 structures, and on-site railroad.
The raw ore stockpile is at the distance of 100 m from the Yenisey riverbank line close to the Krasnoyarsk river port that facilitates unloading the ore from vessels.
Processing line capacity amounts to 15-20 thousand tonnes per year and it is used at the rate of 30-50% based on annual customer demand.
1 movement toward reforming the Soviet social and economic system
2 the ones honored for many years of impeccable service and dedicated work