Engineering & Mining Journal

APR 2017

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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Page 59 of 83

RUSSIAN POTASH 58 E&MJ • APRIL 2017 The rail spur connecting the site and the Russian Railways network was com- pleted, and Usolskiy welcomed its first train and diesel-powered locomotive in June. Tie-in to the main gas pipeline with Gazprom is on schedule and expected for mid-August, while the main 220 ki- lovolt (kV) power line is scheduled to be hooked-up in September. Two product storage buildings, each with 135,000-mt capacity, were complet- ed in the third quarter of 2016. The site's main substation, with 220 kV, underwent commissioning and certification at the end of 2016. Preparations were made for the devel- opment of the freeze wall for the site's second skip shaft. With all 45 freezes and temperature monitoring holes drilled and cased, freezing operations began in au- tumn 2016 in accordance with the proj- ect's development plan. With the headframe near comple- tion, hoists mounted and cages being installed, the site began lowering mining equipment via the cage shaft in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Eurochem. Referencing Gremyachinsky, Euro- chem claimed to be the first company in Russia to equip shafts with innovative chemical seal rings with a new variant de- sign. It applied for the technology there. The waterproof design is composed of a unique sealant material, specifically de- signed to create a barrier to fluids and low-pressure gases. Similar seals have typically been used in very deep and high water-bearing formations in Saskatche- wan, Canada, according to the company. Designed to seal shaft liners, the mate- rial is mixed as slurry under very controlled settings and applied around the shaft be- low the water table in a specific contained location, which in the case of Gremyachin- sky means at a depth of about 850 m. It serves to fill the voids created be- tween the interfaces of the shaft's lining materials, such as between the watertight rock formation and the liners. In Gremy- achinsky, the very large wedge rings are made from heavy grey cast iron. The mate- rial sets up, forming a consistency similar to a natural rubber, soaking up fluids and then expanding to provide a tighter seal between these boundary layers. This then prevents water from migrating down toward the mine or into lower geological forma- tions, which are not particularly watertight or impermeable, according to the company. Dmitry Sterznev, CEO of Eurochem-VolgaKali.

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