• Eng

Uralkali completed the construction of a bulkhead between Solikamsk-1 and Solikamsk-2 mines

26.05.2020

Uralkali (the Company; Moscow Exchange: URKA), one of the worlds largest potash producers, has completed the construction of a unique underground structure between the Solikamsk-1 and Solikamsk-2 mines. The new bulkhead, which has been designed specifically to improve the safety level of mining operations at Solikamsk-1, is a 65-metre long waterproofing structure made up of seven segments of various sizes.

The waterproofing bulkhead was constructed with the use of unique, advanced technologies and materials certified in European laboratories and having no equivalents in the FSU. The structures components were developed specifically for the conditions of the Verkhnekamskoe deposit. Prior to its installation, all materials underwent pilot tests taking into account the actual parameters of the rock mass, depth of excavation, and physical and mechanical characteristics of the relevant mine brines. A multifunctional machine manufactured in Germany for these tasks, MF-1500, was used to cut the mine working line and shape the cuts.

Sensors have been installed to monitor the pressure parameters in the segments of the bulkhead and transmit the data to specialists online.

The waterproofing structure was designed by JSC VNII Galurgii (Perm, Russia) in partnership with Germanys IBeWa, specialised research institutes from Germany, Perm National Research Polytechnic University (Russia) and Moscow State University (Russia). The construction and installation works were completed by Thyssen Schachtbau GbmH (Germany) and Uralkalis subsidiary LLC Uralkali-Remont.

Eduard Smirnov, Uralkali Subsoil Management Director, commented:

The unique waterproofing structure between Solikamsk-1 and Solikamsk-2 mines has been designed specifically for the operating conditions of the Verkhnekamskoe deposit. The bulkhead was designed and built to withstand the maximum possible design pressure from the brines. According to leading global specialised research institutes, this structure will guarantee the safety of mining operations at Solikamsk-1. This is particularly significant because Solikamsk-1 is Russias only source of carnallite, a raw material crucial to Russias titanium and magnesium industry.

Reference

The cross connection between Solikamsk-1 and Solikamsk-2 fields (bulkheads No. 1, 2) was first subject to waterproofing in the 1980s.

In 2014, the Company decided to strengthen the waterproofing structure further. The working area on the side of Solikamsk-2 mine was grouted with a special waterproofing mix. This was complemented by the installation of sensors with indicators displayed in the mine control room and the access tube was concreted, with a reinforced concrete plug fixed at the front end of it. On the side of Solikamsk-1 mine, grouting involved the use of an advanced chemical polymer that was highly adhesive to salts.

The additional waterproofing bulkhead (bulkhead No. 3) was constructed in 2019-2020.

Uralkali (www.uralkali.com) is one of the worlds largest potash producers and exporters. The Companys assets consist of 5 mines and 7 ore treatment plants in the towns of Berezniki and Solikamsk (Perm Region, Russia). Uralkali employs more than 12,000 people in the main production unit. Uralkalis shares are traded on the Moscow Exchange.

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Cardinal rules

Smoking in mines is prohibited.
Work at heights without wearing a safety harness is prohibited.
Work in electrical installations under voltage is prohibited.
It is forbidden to perform work and stay in the bottomhole zone during the operation of the mining machine.
Loading and unloading operations when people are in the danger zone are prohibited.
Working in underground mines with unsecured and/or unassembled roofing is prohibited.
It is forbidden to carry out repairs and maintenance of conveyors without disconnecting from energy sources, use of conveyors for transfer of people and goods (materials and/or equipment), crossing (either above or under) operating conveyors by employees are not allowed.
It is forbidden to carry out welding and flame work in underground mines and mine buildings without the necessary safety measures preventing fire.