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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Reserves From Flooded Uralkali Mine May Be 50% Recoverable

The government believes that Uralkali may be able to recover at least half of the potash supplies that were flooded in 2006 at its largest mine in Berezniki.

The miner may extract 50 percent to 60 percent of the reserves that were not developed because of the accident, Denis Khramov, a Natural Resources and Environment Ministry official, said Monday at a meeting of the State Duma’s Natural Resources Committee.  

The remaining supplies were lost, he said, adding that the figures were from the State Commission on Reserves, or GKZ, which will sign a protocol on the issue soon. The ministry also believes that it makes sense for Uralkali to keep the license to develop those reserves, otherwise the recovery efforts from the accident will be left completely to the sate, Khramov said.

Boris Krasnykh, a deputy head of the Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Atomic Inspection, said the reserves could be developed using Uralkali’s neighboring Mines Nos. 2 and 4, Interfax reported.

The accident at Uralkali’s Mine No. 1, which left it completely flooded, happened in October 2006. Last year, the government did an additional inspection to find out who was to blame.

Had it been Uralkali, the government could have demanded compensation of 25.4 billion rubles to 84.6 billion rubles ($860 million to $2.86 billion) for the lost reserves, according to calculations by the Federal Subsoil Resources Use Agency.

The commission investigating the accident ruled earlier this year that geological and technical factors were the cause, and no new complaints were filed against Uralkali. The company did, however, decide to contribute voluntarily 7.8 billion rubles to the state budget in compensation for helping deal with the accident.

A Uralkali representative confirmed that some of the reserves were reachable and that the GKZ was almost done with its report. He declined to comment on the possible percentage.