Russia sustains potash supply with new rail bypass

31 December 2007 09:57  [Source: ICIS news]

MOSCOW (ICIS news)--State-run operator Russian Railways has successfully tested a new six-kilometre rail line at Berezniki in the Perm region designed to bypass the area affected by an industrial accident, in order to sustain potash shipments.

The line is the first stage of the project to build a longer, 53-kilometre bypass to be completed by 2010, Russian Railways head Vladimir Yakunin said in televised remarks on the weekend.

Russian Railways earlier pledged to build the six-kilometre rail line by February 2008 at an estimated cost of roubles (Rb) 450m (€12.5m/$18.4m).

After one of Uralkali's four mines was flooded by underground waters in October 2006, a sinkhole has been threatening the rail line and adjacent living areas. Moscow ordered resettlement of 2,000 Berezniki residents earlier this year.

Russia's fertilizer producer Silvinit said in October it could have halted its potash shipments due to a possible shutdown of the railway.

Silvinit, based at Solikamsk in the Perm region of the Urals, controls 40% of the Russian potash market and exports roughly 80% of its output.

($1 = Rb24.50/€1 = Rb36.00)

By: Sergei Blagov
+44 20 8652 3214

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