A massive sinkhole opened this week in an abandoned worksite in Russia’s Perm region, one day after brine inflows flooded a crucial mine on Tuesday.
Both the flooding and sinkhole events occured on property belonging to OAO Uralkali, Russia’s largest potash miner,according to Bloomberg.
Potash refers to a group of mined salts that provide potassium for fertilizers and crop nutrient supplies. The potassium in potash is water-soluble, which means rising water levels could ruin the supply.
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“The accident is not catastrophic to the company’s operations or people living in the area,” Dmitry Osipov, OAO Uralkali CEO, said in a statement.
Uralkali says that geologists are examining the site.
This particular mine is responsible for the annual production of 2.3 million tons of potash, Reuters says.
While 20 percent of OAO Uralkali’s potash operations could be affected by the flooding, the sinkhole, measured as wide as 131 feet, is on the same property and about two miles away from the mine. Investigators hope the hole could provide insight into the roots of the flooding.
According to The Moscow Times, the site of the sinkhole was abandoned in 2005 due to concerns the area’s ground was sinking.
Since 1984, two other Uralkali mines have flooded, including an incident in 2006 when Uralkali’s Berezniki-1 mine fully flooded in 10 days, according to Reuters.
If operations continue to deteriorate at the mine, which accounts for three percent of the global potash supply, fertilizer prices could increase, Bloomberg reports.
By Zain Haidar