Acron Group revealed it had raised a $1.5bn fund to bankroll a Russian potash mine, fuelling a sector investment splurge which is also seeing sector leader PotashCorp attempt to buy Israel's ICL.
Acron group revealed that it had attracted Eurasian Development Bank and Raiffeisenbank to back its plans to create a potash mine in Talitsky, in Russia's Urals region, scheduled to start production in 2016.
The cash, plus $226m already attracted from Vnesheconombank, took total the equity injection from external investors to more than $400m.
Together with its own contribution, Acron said it had sufficient funds to "to allow the full-scale construction" of the mine, to begin, with a further $1.1bn debt line available too from Vnesheconombank to top up funding from 2014.
The project's total capex is estimated at about $2.7bn, including the $700m paid for a mining licence.
The deal extends a spate of activity in the sector, which among smaller players has seen Australia's Potash Minerals reveal an announcement on a capital raising, and Canada's Passport Potash buy out minorities in a landholding in Arizona.
However, even Acron's fund raise pales against the sums at stake in PotashCorp's plans, confirmed on Wednesday, to buy Israel Chemicals, a pursuit which has meant talks between the group and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.
Canada-based PotashCorp, the world's top potash group by capacity, is worth some $35bn, with sixth-ranked Israel Chemicals, whose stock hit a one-year high of 50.10 shekels on Thursday, worth $15bn.
PotashCorp was itself the subject of a takeover attempt two years ago, by mining giant BHP Billiton, but the bid foundered following rejection by Canadian officials.
Indeed, PotashCorp's attempt to snap up ICL, of which it already owns 13.8%, is seen as an attempt to bring ICL into the Canpotex consortium, one of two potash marketing cartels, with the former Soviet Union's BPC.
BHP, which is pursuing separate plans for potash expansion, has pitched itself against selling through cartels, which Germany's K+S has also steered clear of.
Acron's project, meanwhile, represents an attempt to avoid being under the thumb of a closely-focused sector, with the group currently dependent for supplies on a Russian potash industry concentrated by Uralkali's takeover of Silvinit.
Acron in July commissioned its Oleniy Ruckey phosphate mining project, designed to free it from reliance on Apatit for supplies, which were interrupted earlier this year by a dispute.
Acron shares stood 0.2% lower at 1273.0 roubles in afternoon deals in Moscow.