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Special Project 10:05 12 Oct 2022

Launching new plant during war or business that started with explosions

Bringing up-to-date equipment, a hundred people, and a bunch of explosives to a dense forest is the start of the business, without which most construction companies would stop working. It is how quarries are born.

Photo: Rubryka

Photo: Rubryka

In one of the forests of the Zhytomyr region, BGV Group Management launched a new crushing stone plant, Granite Quarry LLC. Now the enterprise will extract crushed stone from the deposit, which has been conserved for more than 20 years.

What does a quarry mean for the environment? What is the fate of the deposit after it exhausts itself? How did it happen that an international forum was held at the plant? And why does everything start with a quarry? All the answers are in Rubryka's online tour around the plant.

"Look, we are in the middle of the forest!"

Tall pines surround a massive white tent. Inside, there's an improvised hall with an audience, a stage, bright screens, and distinguished guests—representatives of 50 countries, diplomatic delegations from Estonia and Denmark, representatives of the Ukrainian parliament, and large Ukrainian businesses. It is the First Recovery Forum: Zhytomyr Region.

BGV Group Management 5 ТОВ

It is the turn of Jens Alsbirk, Deputy Ambassador of Denmark to Ukraine, to speak on the stage.

"When I discovered they wanted to hold the event in the middle of the forest, I was not very happy with the idea. It seemed inappropriate. And then we came here. And look, we are in the middle of the forest. But in the middle of this forest is also an innovative enterprise that managed to launch during a war. It's impressive."

BGV Group Management 5 ТОВ

A hundred meters from the event, there are massive steel structures—conveyors, where stones will roll again in a few hours after the forum in the white tent finishes. These are the blood and veins of a newly created business.

Even further, there's the body of the quarry—a giant pit with mineral deposits. We go there together with the head of the enterprise Oleksandr Tolkach.

"Everything starts with a quarry! That's where you have to go," says Oleksandr.

BGV Group Management 5 ТОВ

A distinctive sound accompanies each step along the gravel path. This area, where machinery drives and workers walk, was lined with mined stones so workers and guests of the enterprise could move freely despite the rainy weather. The sound recorder can tolerate everything.

BGV Group Management 5 ТОВ

"The last massive explosion"

"This deposit, Zherevske, was explored back in the 1950s. But it was only in the 1970s that minerals began to be extracted. The company was called Luhyny Granite Quarry, and it worked until 1996. And then it stopped its activities. At the same time, the last massive explosion occurred here in 1996, thanks to which they obtained the mining mass," says Oleksandr Tolkach.

BGV Group Management 5 ТОВ

BGV Group Management 5 ТОВ

Then the owners dismantled the entire infrastructure of the enterprise. They sold some things, and some turned into trash. The territory was gradually overgrown with bushes, and stone deposits were hidden under it. In 2017, the object was bought by Hennadii Butkevych's investment company BGV Group Management. Within a year, the first investments in the new enterprise began. In the summer of 2022, an explosion sounded here for the first time in 25 years, which started another round of stone mining.

"Since the enterprise has not worked for more than 25 years, bushes have grown all over the territory here. The quarry was flooded, which is logical. We pumped almost a million cubic meters of water from here a year ago. The field's reserves here are 46 million cubic meters, which are now being explored and approved. Considering the prospects, it is about 45–50 years of work. The productivity of the mining mass processing plant is 550 tons per hour, which is quite a high indicator," Oleksandr says.

BGV Group Management 5 ТОВ

On the way to the observation deck, from which we can see the mining area, we find mushrooms. The director of the enterprise plucks one and concludes that it is inedible, but a little further in the forest, he says, you can harvest a considerable amount. That's how we get to the quarry observation deck.

"This is where the life of our enterprise is born. This is its heart. A site is selected, drilled, then charged with explosives and detonated. Together, these are drilling and blasting works. We drill and detonate. This is how mining mass is formed, which can be scooped up and shipped with an excavator to dump trucks.

Further from here, a dump truck arrives at the ramp and unloads the mining mass into the receiving hopper of the jaw crusher, where the first stage of crushing takes place. In the technological process, the material goes through three stages of crushing, after which its size decreases three to four times. Now the plant is set to produce crushed stone of three fractions and crushed stone-sand mixtures," the director of Granite Quarry explains.

BGV Group Management 5 ТОВ

BGV Group Management 5 ТОВ

BGV Group Management 5 ТОВ

22 million dollars and 200 jobs

Why do you need crushed stone? Any modern infrastructure is built on it. It is in the foundations of our houses and the roads along which we move. Oleksandr Tolkach stresses that the work of such enterprises directly depends on the construction sector. Currently, similar enterprises are operating at 25-30% of their capacity, which they had before the full-scale war.

All this means lost jobs, a resource inside the country that is not being used to its full potential, and demand that will increase according to how quickly damaged buildings and roads in Ukraine are rebuilt. That is why starting new factories or restarting old ones is essential to our war and post-war economy.

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While the forum devoted to Ukraine's restoration is still ongoing on the territory of the company, Serhii Voitsekhovskyi, a member of the directors' board of BGV Group Management, is taking the stage:

"As business representatives, we believe in the future of this country and its potential, and therefore we continue to look optimistically at the issue of restoring Ukraine and investing funds in regional business projects. Today we gathered on the territory of an innovative enterprise, the construction of which our company began before a large-scale war.

Estimated investments in exploration and the launch of the company's capacities currently amount to about 22 million dollars. This enterprise means creating 200 jobs and 1.5 million tons of mining mass annually. When we came here, it was thickets, but now it is an innovative enterprise. We will continue to invest in Ukrainian enterprises in the future because we believe that Ukraine will win, and after victory, our products will help rebuild the country."

BGV Group Management 5 ТОВ

BGV Group Management 5 ТОВ

The company purchased a new equipment fleet, built its railway infrastructure, and planned to increase production capacity. In general, there are few similar quarries in Ukraine. Their role is clear because construction is impossible without them. But what happens when the deposit runs out? Oleksandr Tolkach and I are already talking about this at the entrance to the ramp from which the stones are unloaded into the crushers.

BGV Group Management 5 ТОВ

BGV Group Management 5 ТОВ

"You will come here on vacation"

"Reserves of the deposit are exhausted over time. After that, the deposit reclamation is carried out. In our case, this process will involve flooding the quarry and creating an artificial reservoir. Then we will release fish into the reservoir, and the surrounding area will be landscaped," Oleksandr explains.

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Such requirements are specified in Ukrainian legislation; you cannot leave an exhausted quarry without further restoration of the object. However, there are enough people who circumvent the law.

"Everything depends on the investor, enterprise owner, and state control. If the enterprise is robust and the owner is serious, they must fulfill all the requirements according to the current legislation. Many enterprises do not have enough funds for full reclamation until the end of the work.

Reclamation is carried out gradually if we talk about large, powerful enterprises. It is also easier in economic terms. In our reclamation project, we envisage creating an area where you can relax by the water in the middle of the forest. You will come here on vacation! But only after 50 years. In the meantime, we mine granites and produce high-quality crushed stone for the country's development."

In the Zhytomyr region alone, russian troops destroyed 35 kilometers of state roads. About seven thousand tons of crushed stone are needed to restore one kilometer. Granite Quarry can extract 500 tons per hour. Starting such a business during a war would support the country after victory.

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