SA miner wins major Russian contract

29 July 2008

Russian mineral and chemicals company EuroChem has awarded a contract worth US$270-million (approximately R2.02-billion) to South Africa’s Shaft Sinkers for shaft construction at EuroChem’s Gremyachinskoye potash deposit in Russia’s Volgograd region.

The contract was signed by EuroChem GM Dmitry Strezhnev, Shaft Sinkers MD Robert Schroder and financial director Christopher Hall.

“Shaft Sinkers is a leading mining company sinking shafts by means of rock cementation and grouting,” the company said in a statement this week. “That makes a fundamental difference between the construction of the man and material shaft of the future mine and sinking similar shafts in the past.”

According to a Mining Weekly article this week, the deal is believed to be one of the largest mining construction contracts entered into between a Russian and South African company.

For the work to be carried out at the Russian project, situated in the town of Kotelnikovo, Shaft Sinkers will use a special technique for water-bearing rock grouting, as opposed to the more traditional method of rock freezing.

South African expertise

Preliminary works on the project commenced in June this year, while completion of the man and material shaft technological complex construction and commissioning is scheduled for January 2012.

Mining Weekly added that the workforce would comprise a key group of South African expatriates of up to 50 people, who would then employ and train local workers.

EuroChem has since 2006 been involved in the development of the Gremyachinskoye potash deposit in Volgograd Region, which according to geological data contains over 1.2-billion tons of potash resources of exceptional ore quality.

With the total project cost expected at approximately $2-billion (approximately R14.9-billion), it is one of the largest investment projects by private companies in the modern-day Russian Federation.

“After the commissioning of the Gremyachinskoye mine in 2012 EuroChem will become the largest Russian and the fourth [largest] company in the world producing the entire range of mineral fertilisers, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium,” the statement read.

SAinfo reporter

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