Kazan Gunpowder Plant to increase production capacity of nitrates and gunpowders

Kazan Gunpowder Plant to increase production capacity of nitrates and gunpowders
Photo: realnoevremya.ru

Modernisation and expansion

As part of the reconstruction and technical re-equipment programme, the Kazan Gunpowder Plant will increase its production capacity for the production of cellulose nitrates and gunpowders. This facility will become the first stage of the reconstruction of defense production. Besides, the modernisation will also affect the auxiliary production of cellulose nitrates and the plant's treatment facilities.

It is not clear what exactly it is about. The company has a military-industrial profile, so the essence and content of the processes taking place on it is classified. In open sources, there is only information as of 2018, when it was reported that more than 331 million rubles were allocated from the federal budget for the implementation of the project. In the course of closed electronic bidding, the contractor who would implement the reconstruction project was to be determined. According to the application, the contractor had to perform construction and installation works using engineering equipment and commissioning work on the capital construction project “Reconstruction to create the modular production of cellulose nitrates and gunpowders in order to introduce technologies ...”.

Before the construction company enters the production site, the project documentation for the modernisation of the enterprise's facilities passes the procedure of state historical and cultural expertise. The aim was to determine the presence or absence of cultural heritage objects on the land plots where construction is to be carried out. The results of the examination are published in the public domain.

The experts examined the enterprise's plots with a total area of 45 hectares. The work was entrusted to Eduard Karpov, a specialist in medieval archaeology of the Middle Volga Region, researcher at the Department of Conservation Research at the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan. As stated in the conclusion of the scientist, the study of the territory was carried out during a walking full-scale survey of the sites. To fix the cultural remains, various kinds of soil cover violations were examined: plowed areas, scree, trenches, and pits. A special type of work was the laying of reconnaissance pits. According to Karpov's conclusion, no archaeological evidence of the presence of cultural layers of ancient settlements, as well as visible signs of ancient burials and burial mounds, have been found. None of the previously identified archaeological sites fell into the area of construction work, new windows were also not revealed.

After corporatisation — under the power of Rostec

The oldest Gunpowder factory in modern Russia on the territory of Kazan was “designated for construction” by decree of Empress Catherine II in 1786, and two years later, in 1788, it began the regular manufacture of black, smoky cannon and musket powder. Today, this multi-profile enterprise produces special, civilian and dual-use products, being Russia's largest manufacturer of pyroxylin powder for propellant charges and ammunition for almost all types of weapons, as well as various civilian products. It is also the only gunpowder factory in Russia that has joined the European Association of Nitrocellulose Producers. This one of the first man-made artificial polymers is necessary for the production of smokeless gunpowder, various explosives, serves as the basis for nitrocellulose lacquers, paints, enamels.

The Kazan Gunpowder Factory is considered the Russian monopolist in the production of gunpowder for grenade launchers and some types of charges for tanks. In general, the plant annually produces almost 70% of the total Russian volume of gunpowder and shells. In the year when the plant turned 230 years old, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation reported that the Kazan State State-owned Powder Factory should be liquidated, and its basic production of pyroxylin powders should be given to the Aleksinsky Chemical Combine in the Tula region.

“The decision to create the new powder production at the Aleksinsky Chemical Plant has been finally made. We are not talking about the transfer of existing worn-out capacities (equipment), but about the creation of a new modern production facility in Aleksin. At the same time, the dangerous production of gunpowder in Kazan will be curtailed," the press service of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation told Realnoe Vremya at the time. Then, according to approximate estimates, the transfer of production would cost 70 billion rubles.

A year later, information appeared that the plant would be relocated to the Udmurt village of Kizner. “We conducted a study, the scientific institute and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation worked — unfortunately, the technologies in Kisner do not allow us to place a powder factory there: there are no explosion-proof buildings and so on, and so on," Viktor Lashkarev, the Minister of Industry and Trade of Udmurtia, said in the summer of 2019.

In 2020, it became known that within the framework of the law signed on July 31 by Russian President Vladimir Putin on amendments to the laws on Rostec Group of Companies and on unitary enterprises, which gives the state corporation the appropriate powers, the state will transfer “a number of special chemical enterprises” under the management of Rostec. They included three Tatarstan enterprises — the Kazan Powder Plant, the State Research Institute of Chemical Products, and the Kazan Precision Engineering Plant.

This year, immediately after the New Year holidays, a government decree signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin appeared on the official Internet portal of legal information. It says that 14 Russian ammunition factories and special chemical enterprises will be corporatised, and 100% of their shares will be transferred to Rostec State Corporation in the form of a property contribution of the Russian Federation. The list of enterprises also includes three Tatarstan defense industry enterprises. As stated in the order, these transformations will be carried out within 5 years, the privatisation of defense enterprises will last until 2024.

At the same time, last May, the general director of the Kazan Powder Factory, Alexander Livshits, said that the company retained plans to create an industrial park on its unused areas. He noted that the sanctions and the complicated situation in the world did not affect the plans for the implementation of the project, especially since its concept has already been approved. However, Livshits did not name specific deadlines for the implementation of the project. The fact that the final point of construction of the industrial park would be 2024, was announced in the summer of 2021 by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Tatarstan. It will be located on 81 hectares of land and will create about 300 new jobs at the first stage.

Angelina Panchenko