Natural quartz — the most valuable raw material for the lighting and electronics industry. As of this cloudy crystal receive a unique material that formed the basis for nanotechnology, without which it is impossible to high-tech future of all mankind.
90 km from Chelyabinsk, Kyshtym. All over the world, this small town on the eastern slope of the Ural Mountains became famous after the discovery of rich deposits of natural quartz. Similar formations on the planet are found only in three places — the United States of America, Norway, and we have, in the Urals. Until the end of the 70s the quartz vein is developed open pit, and then the miners went deep into the mountain. Now Kyshtymskiy unique quartz mined only in the ground.
Vadim Kuzmin, a member of the Board of Directors of the company "Russian quartz" CEO Kyshtymskoye mine: Such basic contaminants and impurities such as aluminum, alkali, sodium, potassium, calcium, there is so little that remains after processing them only a few dozen particles per million useful component. I think that's just this vein, on the way out, we now expect to achieve a useful component, enough for more than 20 years. Only one strand.
HOST: The field develops Kyshtymskiy Mining. This is the only enterprise in Russia producing high-purity quartz in industrial scale. There are no customary for miners vertical tunnels. Gallery gradually goes underground, inside the mountain, followed by a quartz core. The temperature in these confusing maze of stable, as in a thermos — from 5 to 8 degrees Celsius.
So, we went through about 400 meters, but rested somewhere here in a big high wall. What's going on at the moment?
Vitaly KOSOV, head of the underground mine Kyshtymskoye mining works: At the moment there is shipment of ore formation. After the explosion of rock collapsed, and the loading of the arrival of the machine is taken out pogruzodostavochnoy vein mass on the surface. As soon as the shipment is already approaching Blasters to us, respectively, again laying explosives, blowing up, people go to a safe distance. After an hour and a half, comes a shift foreman, checks, respectively, gassed, and then instructs the art work in the face.
HOST: The export of quartz ore fully mechanized. On the surface it's tons of delivering such powerful trucks. Machine of steel, like a worm, can be bent, passing through the narrow gallery of the mine.
Vitali, and where she lived natural quartz? She somehow fundamentally different, whether it is visible?
Vitaly KOSOV Yes, mine is seen. That is somewhere she thickness of 12-15 m is the angle of incidence is 13-40 degrees. — And how deep it sinks? — It descends to a depth of 200 m
HOST: This white powder — products Kyshtymskoye mining and processing plant. It is deeply cleansed of impurities silica sand. mineral content of the mineral is almost one hundred percent. This is the base material for the industry of nanotechnology. He still does not change the world. For example, here is the design of these transparent quartz need to create computer chips. They reinforce the silicon substrate which are placed in special installations, where the quick-manufactured microelectronics. All nanoprocesses occur in a high vacuum. These quartz cassettes at a temperature of 1500 degrees and baked chips for computers. And this Kyshtymskoye quartz crucible is indispensable for the growth of single crystals of silicon on which computer chips are created.
Vadim Kuzmin: No high-purity quartz concentrates not have one of the basic materials, nanotechnology and innovative materials such as quartz glass, special ceramics and a number of others. Increase in the production of high-purity quartz in Russia creates the basis for the creation of basic materials of wood innovative technologies.
MODERATOR: Enterprise "Russian quartz" in May commissioned the first dry concentration and a modern analytical laboratory.
Sergey Polikarpov, RUSNANO Managing Director: Total investment in the project is 2.3 billion rubles. In this part of us — is 750 million rubles. And thanks to our project, we are, in fact, change the very production chain. Instead of buying finished products abroad, we extract them here and recycle more in order to produce high-purity quartz, so necessary to, in fact, chain of high-tech products.
HOST: According to experts, the plant production Kyshtymskoye guaranteed sales in the next few years. After all, highly quartz — is the basis for optical fibers liniysvyazi, it is made quartz bulbs and solar panels. All high-quality optics are made only from quartz. Today, the global market for high-purity quartz concentrates — about 60,000 tons per year. The demand for it is constantly growing.
Vadim Kuzmin: The complex will increase its capacity in stages. Now you and I are just in the factory, which is in fact ready to produce 6,000 tonnes a year it will be ready to produce 12,000 t of course, under this we will explore another career or another vein body, which we already have, and we expect to begin his training this year.
HOST: But to make knowledge-based quartz, natural ore must go through several purification steps, the so-called processing. The first stage — dry concentration of quartz. The company "Russian quartz" has purchased the most modern technological equipment — both foreign and domestic. The whole process is controlled by a computer, starting with powerful mills, relentlessly grinding large boulders in a shallow gravel. Next, all the raw material is crushed in stages. After each grinding is sifting through a sieve, then magnetic separation: unwanted metallic impurities magnetic field extends from the powder, and the re-grinding of quartz fed to comminution and subsequent magnetic separation. The process goes up until the particle size reaches the desired size.
Alexander, that it is right on the vibrating unit — literally the hand is applied to it and feel it's a strong, strong vibration? Why is this?
Alexander Stookey, chief engineer of the "Russian quartz": Well, it's round two screens, on which there is an allocation of working fraction of quartz grit from dust fraction, minus one hundred microns. By screening on the grid, we will send one hundred micron fraction by working elevators to magnetic separation. — And how often work setting? — Frequency hence determined depending on the needs. That is, it works through frequency converters. At the moment it is, if you look at chastotniku, about 50 hertz. — I saw that there pours some white powder. This is the finished product, in fact, probably, right? — Well, that's not to say that this is the finished product, because he had to go through a purification step magnetic. — And in the end that's what it can provide a clean installation? — Order 1500-1600 of dirts in a million par
ticles of the finished product.
MODERATOR: The second stage of treatment — the so-called wet stage. Flotation technology gets rid of excess mineral impurities. Chemical etching with an acid removes organic compounds quartz particles. After washing with deionized water and drying, — finishing: quartz concentrate calcined at a temperature of 1100 degrees. The result is a high-purity material. here a million of useful particles account for only 12 particles of impurities. Monitoring the quality quartz powder at all stages of production is at a molecular level.
The laboratory analytical control for real surgical cleanliness. After all, here it is necessary to provide a fantastic accuracy. One particle impurities in a billion particles of matter. Therefore, all the work here in sterile gowns and caps.
Nina is now possible to achieve this fantastic precision experiments? What gives you that opportunity?
Nina Kuzmina, deputy director for science and new technologies Kyshtymskoye mine: We are now in a room on the direct analysis of impurity elements that are found in our quartz. This device is very high-resolution inductively coupled plasma. The prepared solutions are injected directly into the measuring chamber. Device associated with a personal computer and the computer can be clearly seen content of the impurity elements in a certain range. On the screen, all the peaks can be seen. — Why do we need a high quality quartz-rich? What are the benefits? — It provides some unique qualities of melted quartz glass. The coefficient of thermal expansion of the quartz glass is close to almost zero. This unique property of the structural material such as quartz glass.
HOST: On the unique properties of quartz Kyshtymskoye well known not only in Russia but also abroad. China, Japan, South Korea, Germany has entered into long-term contracts with residents of the Urals. According to conservative estimates, in 2 years revenue from the project will exceed 400 million rubles. But, most of all, these business plans will be reviewed — revised upwards.
Sergey Polikarpov: We are ahead of a six-month run first line of dry processing. This is definitely accelerates project. The base we had planned for the 15th year of producing 10,000 tons, and due to the acceleration, the speed with which we develop and build now and starts, this year we will produce about 2000 tons.
HOST: Today, the world market price of kilograms of high-purity quartz concentrate ranges from 5 to 7 dollars. Many consider it to be inflated due to the monopoly of U.S. companies. According to experts, the growth Kyshtymskoye power plant is likely to alter the balance of power. May change not only the price but also the rules of the game in the world market of high-tech.
This is the first batch of newly launched line of dry cleaning of quartz. And just this year, the company intends to release more than 2,000 tons of such products. Two years later, when the volume of production will rise by five times, the company plans to take a 15% global market share of highly quartz.