Uralkali begins repair work at damaged potash mine
Uralikali, the largest producer of potash in the world, will begin repairs on its Solikamsk-2 mine that was damaged by flooding. The flooding, along with a sinkhole 3.5 km (2 miles) to the east of the mine halted production from the mine that accounts for one fifth of the company’s output and 3.5 percent of the global capacity.
Reuters reported that the sinkhole in an abandoned mine, 30 m by 40 m wide, increased concern about the future of Solikamsk-2.
An inflow of water and the resulting sinkhole in 2006 forced another Uralkali operation to shut permanently.
The governor of the Perm region where Solikamsk-2 is located said the inflow of water at the mine had "practically stopped" and there was no danger to residents of the area from any possible expansion of the sinkhole.
"The possibility of starting work at half of the Solikamsk mine is being discussed," Chief Executive Dmitry Osipov told reporters in Berezniki in the Perm region.
Later, the company clarified that this referred to maintenance work, and said there had not been any discussion with authorities about restarting full or partial production at the mine.
It quoted Osipov as saying that the company was discussing the possibility of starting "the backfilling of areas which could be considered potentially hazardous."
Uralkali's Moscow-listed shares pared gains after the company said it was not considering restarting production, and closed up 3.8 percent.
Shares in Uralkali fell sharply last week after the water inflow forced the company to halt operations at Solikamsk-2.