December 22, 2010
Exploration drilling at the Unterbreizbach mine of the K+S KALI GmbH has set a new world record this year. One of a total of three horizontal boreholes has penetrated nearly 3,000 meters into the deposit. The objective was to achieve as many “far-reaching” insights as possible on the raw materials present in the deposit.
“We knew we had to go 2,000 metres deep, and we actually aimed at 2,500 meters – everything beyond that is considered a bonus,” said pit foreman Torsten Bauer, who heads the Exploration Department of the Unterbreizbach mine. As the previously used drilling techniques were not supportive of drilling beyond 1,500 meters into the deposit, the team relied on the technology and the know-how supplied by their colleagues from the K+S KALI Neuhof-Ellers works. Together they managed to penetrate 2,851 meters into the crude salt deposit; using no less than 950 drill pipes. Only afterwards did the project participants realise that this had set a new world record in potash mining.
The second exploration drill also exceeded the set target of 2,000 meters borehole depth. The exploration drills delivered proof of a significantly reduced magnesium chloride content after 1,000 meters into the crude salt deposit, and a concomitant reduction of magnesium chloride solution, dispensing with the need for the initially planned evaporation plant in Unterbreizbach.
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