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.
6 large wells are drilled along the center of the chamber. They are not loaded but create a compensating surface.
Manual labor was eliminated in 2000.
Hole-drilling is done with the help of a device called Smaq BW 50.
Remote control of the device.
Drilling vertical holes.
After explosion dust is settled, windy shots are checked and then gypsum is loaded into trucks.
Trucks that weigh 30 tones and have handling capacity of 37 tones carry gypsum to the underground shattering spot.
Every part of the equipment is also repaired underground.
How many car service centers in the world are located deep into the earth?
‘I left as I couldn’t wait any longer’
Total carrying capacity of the machines is 900 tonnes of stone an hour.
Controlling the technological process of underground shattering.
Reversible conveyer of the gate-end bunker.
The mine in Novomoskovsk gives one third of the total gypsum produced in KNAUF enterprises located in the CIS countries.
The underground technological complex. Around 2.5 million tonnes of stone is obtained annually.
Today the place is the most perfect gypsum mine in the world.
The underground conveyer.
After that the raw material reaches the complex of secondary shattering.
Raw material is shifted to the surface with the help of the vertical conveyer that deals with delivery of shattered gypsum. Working capacity of the system is 900 tonnes an hour.
Construction of a new shaft of the mine with diameter of 8 meters was completed in 2000. The widest shaft in Russia allows to take down large equipment. Some time ago, before the shaft was constructed, the equipment had initially to be taken into pieces. Cars also reach the mine through the shaft.
Transfer group of the mine part located on the surface.
The upper part of the shaft.
The industrial enterprise in Novomoskovsk can be related to the first plant acquired by KNAUF in Russia. Investor has made a decision to launch production of modern construction materials.