Baskunchak closed salt lake deposit

Baskunchak lake basin is the deepest west branch of internal Baskunchak depression, which is located between north and west Baskunchak salt massif canopies. Depression formation has started back in the Quaternary and is stil in progress.

Upper salina, which is the subject of dietary salt production, is related to the modern Baskunchak deposits. It has the shape of lens thinning out to the lake shores. It takes the whole Baskunchak depression and superposes the daylight surface. Saline is composed of coherent halite crystals. Intercrystal area are filled with sludge and sodium chloride solution or so-called intercrystal or bottom bittern. The average bittern composition (g/l): K+Na – 104,6; Ca- 7,72, Mg- 12, 27; HCO3 – 0,14; SO4 —  0,98; Cl – 204, 45. Deposit hanging wall is almost perfect horizontal surface.

The process of Baskunchak dietary salt deposit is not over. Nowadays the process of depositing still continues. This is conditioned by continuous downwarping of depression, its endorheic character, active supply with surface and underground waters rich with sodium chloride as well as warm and dry climate. This type of climate conditions the evaporation surplus over precipitations and is the basic condition for lake salt depositing. Permanent sodium chloride solid depositing determines the unique ability of deposit to recover reserves in course of production. Ultimately it defines dietary salt reserves as inexhaustible.

Process of production consists of the seam destruction, destructed salt harvesting, concentration, dehydration, lading and transportation. All the processes except for transportation are united in one process production line and carried out with the help of salt harvester. The salt harvester has an independent power supply and installed on the railways.

Seam development with the help of salt harvester is performed in several passes. After several passes there is a cut (trench) filled with bittern. In order to decrease losses of crushed salt and provide the normal suction conditions of pulp slurry there are retreating pillars 0.15-0.20 m each.    

After salt production in one cut up to a full depth one may move to the other cut. In order to provide it the railways are shifted to the spacing equal to the width of salt harvester pass and inter-trench pillars.

Расположение месторождения