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Belaruskali mines 1.5bn tons of potash ore

Belarus has mined 1.5 billionth ton of potash ore. This happened in the mines of the Soligorsk enterprise, the flagship of the world potash industry.

The previous record - 1 billion tons - was set 14 years ago.

But for miners, each indicator is not just a figure; it is the result of daily and painstaking work. Lower and lower and lower: Soligorsk miners go approximately this way every morning reaching (unsurprisingly!) record heights! And today is a special day for them.

Dmitry Boyarovich, CTV:
That is that very historical moment, the extraction of one and a half billionth ton of potash ore. A special combine now cuts the rock, and the ore is conveyed on top of this conveyor.

This place is the front line of the entire mining process, 600 meters underground. Miners call it "lava".

This one is relatively new, but ultra-efficient. Over the 7 months of its operation Belaruskali has extracted million tons of ore.

Dim Dimych, as the brigadier is called by the colleagues, is a miner with almost 40-year experience. He worked at the enterprise back in 2003, when miners were happy with the result, which, it seemed, would not be surpassed very soon: one billion tons of ore.

Dmitry Mikhalenia, 4th mine management department, Belaruskali:
All life is underground. This is not the merit of our team. One and a half billion tons... This is the work of thousands and thousands of people.

Without us, without mining workers, without potassium fertilizers it will be difficult to feed the entire people.

One and a half billion tons of ore results in more than 300 million tons of potassium fertilizers, one of the main Belarusian export commodities. Each year, the flagship of the world potash industry sells about 80% of its products abroad, earning about $150 million for Belarus.

Ivan Golovatyi, Belaruskali director general:
We are now witnessing, especially this year, that the market is still coming to life. I think that every year there will be an increase in potassium consumption by agricultural producers. In my opinion, by 2020, we expect growth in consumption of 2% to 4%, and increase in exports in the potash market.

The Belarusian potash giant is currently developing several new fields. A joint investment project with China - a plant for the production of potassium nitrate - is also being prepared. Fortunately, the potential of Belarus' bowels is enormous in this respect.

According to chemists, Belarus' potassium ore reserves alone will last at least 150 years.

Belaruskali mines 1.5bn tons of ore