Have you ever thought that a huge mine the size of which exceeds the area of the Moscow subway system can be located right under your feet? Such a mine, which is the largest gypsum minefield in Europe, is situated in the city of Novomoskovsk in the Tula region.
Size of its minefields and chambers just boggles the mind. Gypsum deposit was discovered in Novomoskovsk in 1929.
A mine can be entered through the cage that seems rather undistinguished.
Before the descent every person is supplied with a protective suit, helmet and shoes.
As well as with a separate lamp and oxygen device that has to be used in case of emergency.
Gypsum extraction is carried out at the depth of 130 meters.
The mine has 5 shafts in total. They are used to take down people and equipment, provide ventilation and elevate obtained raw material.
The first shaft was built in 1947. That time gypsum was transported only with a wagon. Diesel transport was the next stage of evolution. Now gypsum is carried by trucks, and raw material is elevated with the help of special conveyor.
Main tunnels are supplied with lamps.
Total length of the tunnel is over 500 km. Having an underground parking lot is a must.
As the quarry is rather solid there is no need to strengthen the walls of the tunnels.
Stages of a technological process include drilling with special setup, loading of blasting agents, face firing, aeration, filling trucks with gypsum with its subsequent transportation, shattering, lifting shattered stone to the surface and loading products to railway vehicles.
Gypsum stone is very solid and can’t be obtained with a regular excavator. It requires well drilling and loading with blasting agents.