Second Belarusian potash mining company begins shaft sinking

Instead of conventional methods the Belarusian company opted for shaft sinking by mechanical means

Shaft sinking began at the Nezhinsky site of the Starobinskoye potash salts deposit in Lyuban District, Minsk Oblast. IOOO Slavkaliy is the first company in Europe to start shaft sinking without using explosives, the company's representatives told BelTA.

Instead of conventional methods the Belarusian company opted for shaft sinking by mechanical means. The method is believed to be safer, faster, and more environmentally friendly. The German company Herrenknecht made shaft boring roadheaders (SBR machines) specifically for Slavkaliy. The machines have already proven their effectiveness at a potash salt deposit in Canada.

An SBR machine weighs 400 tonnes. When assembled, it is 52 meters high. It is designed to split rock and lift it to the surface. Since the machine is large, it had to be delivered as disassembled components.

Another German company Deilmann-Haniel will take care of mine tunnels. Over the course of 130 years the company has built over 500 mine shafts. The German company trains Belarusian specialists how to work with hi-tech equipment and offers on-the-job training.

BelTA reported earlier that in September 2015 Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and the businessman Mikhail Gutseriyev placed a time capsule at the construction site to mark the beginning of the project to build the Nezhinsky potash mining and processing factory using the Starobinskoye potash salts deposit. It will be the second company in Belarus to mine potash ore and make potash fertilizers with the output capacity of up to 2 million tonnes of potassium chloride per annum. As part of the investment project one mining facility will be built in addition to a processing plant, a gas turbine power plant the enterprise will need, railway infrastructure, access roads, housing infrastructure, and other kinds. The construction of the Nezhinsky mining and processing factory began in 2016. IOOO Slavkaliy is in charge of implementing the project.

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