Sinkhole found near Uralkali mine in Russia, shares down

Wed Nov 19, 2014 4:06am EST
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* Uralkali declines to say on how long the mine may be offline

* Officials, company invite geologists for investigation

* Flooding is a common problem for the potash industry

* Shares down as 20 pct of capacity at risk

YEKATERINBURG/MOSCOW, Nov 19 (Reuters) - A sinkhole has been found near Uralkali's Solikamsk-2 potash mine in Russia's Perm region, which suspended work a day ago after a water inflow, driving the company's shares down for a second day.

It was not clear how seriously the mine at Solikamsk-2, which accounts for a fifth of the company's capacity, would be affected. A water inflow and resulting sinkhole in 2006 shut another Uralkali mine in the same region permanently.

The world's largest potash producer suspended Solikamsk-2 mine work on Tuesday after high levels of brine inflow were detected.

The sinkhole, stretching 20 by 30 metres, was found 3.5 km east of the mine, the regional emergency ministry said on Wednesday. It is located on an abandoned mine and does not pose a threat to people who live in Solikamsk town.

Officials and the company plan to ask members of the Saint-Petersburg Geology Institute to investigate the reason for the brine inflow and its relation to the sinkhole, the ministry added.   Continued...