Testing of Ural-360 experimental combine begins at Uralkali

03.09.2015
Testing of Ural-360 experimental combine begins at Uralkali

The Ural-360 shaft-sinking and tunnel-boring machine is a fundamentally new type of mining equipment, which has not yet been used to extract sylvinite ore at Uralkali’s mines. The main practical difference is the shearing unit that breaks the ore. The combine machine cuts through the solid layers with a special drum, whereas Ural-20 series combines work by using disks.

It is planned that the new combine will be used for mining and development works as well as to tunnel the lower passageways of the stopes. In particular, mining the lower seams with the new technology will allow the Company to extract ore that was previously unable to be cut with other combine models.

Andrey Kharintsev, Head of Mining at Uralkali, commented:

Uralkali continually introduces modernised tunneling machinery to use at its mines. The Ural-360 combine will be able to cut through various different seams, meaning the company can mine reserves that were not able to be extracted with previous equipment. The experiment will last several months, and we hope that the new machinery will justify its use. Thanks to the experience of our specialists, testing in the mine conditions allows the mechanical engineers to develop prototypes of mining machinery that could be commercially produced in the future.

Specialists from the Kopeysk Machine Building Plant manufactured the new combine specially upon receiving an order from Uralkali as part of the “Mine. Perspective” programme. In 2015, the Company plans to purchase 8 continuous miners, 8 conveyer hoppers, 10 shuttle cars, 11 load-haul dump machines, and 10 Krot and Kurier vehicles to transport people in the mine. This year, the Company is investing more than 1.5 billion roubles in new mining equipment.

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. 11,000 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.