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Uralkali Announcement on Solikamsk-2 Mine

Uralkali Announcement on Solikamsk-2 Mine

Uralkali (LSE: URKA; the Company) updates on the current situation at Solikamsk-2 mine.

As of 06 February 2015, the sinkhole, which appeared to the east of the Solikamsk-2 production site, had increased and measured 58 by 87 metres wide and approximately 75 metres deep.

The level of brine inflow into the Solikamsk-2 mine continuously varies. Between 11 December 2014 and 21 January 2015, the average brine inflow was approximately 200 cubic metres per hour. Between 22 January and 06 February 2015, the average brine inflow increased substantially reaching approximately 820 cubic metres per hour.

The Company has started to remove equipment from the Solikamsk-2 mine shaft in cases where it is not being used to mitigate the consequences of the accident. Three “Ural” continuous miners have been dismantled and taken out.

In line with the accident mitigation plan, Uralkali continues to comprehensively monitor the situation: water inflows are monitored through brine level checks; ground water levels are monitored in the water monitoring wells and the drilling of additional water monitoring wells is in progress; gas levels are monitored around the sinkhole and in the mine; the sinkhole is monitored from a distance using stationary cameras and air drones; and seismologic control of the sinkhole area has been set up.

In accordance with the plan of the development of mining works, approved by the Federal Environmental, Technological, and Nuclear Supervision Service of Russia (Rostechnadzor), Uralkali is implementing a number of measures to minimise the consequences of the accident:

  • The Company is pumping brine from the inflow area in the eastern part of the minefield to the western part of the minefield to prevent flooding in the area adjacent to the shaft;
  • Construction of the brine diversion channel has been completed;
  • Uralkali is continuing works to strengthen the cut-off walls between the Solikamsk-1 and Solikamsk-2 minefields;
  • The Company is backfilling the worked-out areas of the mine to reduce rock mass deformation.

Background information

On 18 November 2014, Uralkali detected higher levels of brine inflow and hydrogen sulphide in its Solikamsk-2 mine. To ensure safety, the Company suspended all works in the mine, introduced an emergency plan and evacuated personnel to above ground. Nobody was injured.

In the evening of 18 November, a sinkhole with a size of 30 by 40 metres was detected to the east of the Solikamsk-2 production site, outside the metropolitan area in a summer cottage village. Immediately after the accident, the Company introduced comprehensive monitoring of the situation. Uralkali co-ordinates its actions with the administrations of the town of Solikamsk and the Solikamsk area and takes all necessary measures to minimise the negative impact on the citizens.

The Company has engaged scientific institutes, such as the Mining Institute of the Urals Branch of the Russian Academy of Science, Galurgiya, and All-Russia Scientific Research Institute of Halurgy, to supervise monitoring and analysis of the situation and develop forecasts and recommendations.

Previous updates on Solikamsk-2 situation

29 January 2015 http://www.uralkali.com/press_center/company_news/item20549/

10 December 2014 http://www.uralkali.com/press_center/company_news/item20109/

24 November 2014 http://www.uralkali.com/press_center/company_news/item19929/

19 November 2014 http://www.uralkali.com/press_center/company_news/item19819/

18 November 2014 http://www.uralkali.com/press_center/company_news/item19755/

Uralkali (www.uralkali.com) is one of the world’s largest potash producers and exporters. The Company’s assets consist of 5 mines and 7 ore-treatment mills situated in the towns of Berezniki and Solikamsk (Perm Region, Russia). Uralkali employs ca.11,300 people (in the main production unit). Uralkali’s shares and GDRs are traded on the Moscow Exchange and London Stock Exchange, respectively.

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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.