Sinking of Two Freeze Shafts by Using the Mechanized Shaft Boring Roadheader (SBR) Technology for the Slavkaliy Nezhinsky Potash Mine in Belarus


Jochen Greinacher, Redpath Deilmann GmbH ; Frank Otten, Redpath Deilmann GmbH

In July 2017, Deilmann-Haniel signed a contract with IOO Slavkaliy to sink two 750 m deep freeze shafts for the Potash mine Nezhinsky in Belarus. This is the second shaft project where this technology is employed after two over 1000 m deep shafts for a potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada, have been sunk by the application of the Herrenknecht Shaft Boring Roadheader (SBR) technology. Developed to sink shafts for green field projects in soft to medium hard rock, in frozen or unfrozen geology, the machine technology utilizes a roadheader type cutterhead on a telescopic boom to mechanically excavate the rock, and a pneumatic mucking system to convey the muck from the face into the buckets. This leads to a manless face during the sinking cycle and thus a significant improvement in terms of work­place safety. For the Nezhinsky project, the SBR design was significantly modified in close cooper­ation between Deilmann-Haniel and Herrenknecht, based on the available experi­ence and the special requirements of the project. Such modifications have been for example the adaptation of the Pneumatic Mucking System to cope with wet material as well as dry as originally planned or the shaft lining moving from shotcrete applica­tion to jump for and tubbing installation for which a step-change hands-off tubbing erector for the placement of segments was designed. Further modifications to optimize the machine technology for the requirements during shaft sinking were applied on the two machines for the Slavkaliy project as well as several revisions to match the special project requirements. The SBR is suitable for soft and medium hard rock up to 100 MPa UCS. The main design limits are maximum weight of the machine with 400 tons and length or height of 50 meters due to the depth of the pre-sink. The Pneumatic Mucking System was changed in all components, sheaves and rope arrangement were redesigned and the concept of the hoist system was also re-engi­neered. The SBR in Belarus is configured for a daily sinking rate of three meters and all sys­tems behind the cutting boom are not the bottle neck of the whole system. The works on site started in November 2017 including freeze hole drilling, construc­tion works, site setup, installation of hoists winches, permanent headgears and other components required for sinking. The SBRs arrived on site in June / July 2018 and were preassembled on surface and then lowered in the 50 m presink. SBR #1 started full face sinking in mid December 2018, and SBR #2 in late January 2019. By the end of February 2019, the machines are at 150 m and 100 m depth respectively, and achieved up to 3.6 m/day concrete lined shaft. The SBR and the sinking system, the experiences, problems, technical solutions and performances of this challenging project will be presented in this paper.
Keywords: Mechanized Shaft Sinking, SBR