Bassol Subdivision

About us

Russol is the largest salt compan in Russia and the CIS countries. We believe that the only way to create the best is to do the job perfectly.

Bassol Subdivision

Production of
1,7 million tons of salt per year
Lake Baskunchak is called the " Russia's Salt Cellar " - 30% of the salt in the country is mined here.
315 Employees
Bassol Subdivision

350 km from Astrakhan, in the village of Nizhny Baskunchak, there is a subdivision of Russalt – Bassol, which is the largest deposit of deposited salt.

Method of extraction and processing of salt

The Baskunchak deposit is the largest deposit of self-planting salt, which has been commercially developed for more than 200 years. At the Baskunchak deposit, salt is mined during the season from March to November in two ways:

Salt harvester on a railway track, which loosens the salt layer, sucks in the resulting salt pulp, crushes, rinses and loads the salt into road trains and railway cars.

By thin layer technology. The milling of the salt layer is performed by a caterpillar-mounted combine, and the selection of loosened salt and loading into road trains is carried out by a pick-up.

Tractors with trailers loaded with salt with a carrying capacity of 400-450 tons move the salt from the salt combine to the receiving device, it is unloaded, washed and then moved along the conveyor-main lines to the open storage warehouse, and then to the salt processing factory.

Deposit Features

The basin of Lake Baskunchak represents the western, most deeply submerged wing of the inner Baskunchak depression, located between the northern and southern domes of the Baskunchak salt massif. The formation of the basin began in the Quaternary period and continues today.

The modern deposits on Lake Baskunchak include the upper salt deposit, which is the object of extraction of table salt. It has the shape of a lens and fills the entire vast area of ​​the Baskunchak basin.

The salt deposit is composed of cemented halite crystals. The intercrystalline spaces in the deposit are filled with silt and sodium chloride solution, the so-called intercrystalline or bottom brine. The average composition of brine in g / l: K + Na – 104.6; Ca – 7.72; Mg – 12.27; HCO3 – 0.14; SO4 – 0.98; Cl – 204.45. The roof of the reservoir is an almost perfectly horizontal plane.


Spontaneous mining of salt on Lake Baskunchak was carried out starting from the Scythians, in the 7th-9th centuries it was broken by the Khazars, in the 10th-12th centuries by the Polovtsians, since the 13th century the Tatars have been breaking salt. After the conquest of Astrakhan by Ivan the Terrible and the annexation of the region to the Moscow state, the industrial development of Astrakhan salt deposits begins, opening a promising page in the history of Baskunchak salt mining.

Mining on Lake Baskunchak began in 1747. To protect the fishery, they built a small fortress “Kordon” with a garrison, where there were 50 privates and two officers, 40 Cossacks. Observation booths were arranged along the shore of the lake, where the Cossacks constantly carried out sentinel service. The impressive protection of the fishery was supposed to protect it from nomadic raids and testified to the long-term plans of the government.

However, it was stopped under the pretext of high cost already 7 years after the start of the state development of salt. The real reason, however, was the desire to strengthen the parallel development of the Elton salt mine, which required large expenditures.

Development at Baskunchak resumed from 1785 to 1808, and only with the abolition of serfdom and the transfer of salt mining to private hands did it become clear that Elton’s patronage was wrong. The Baskunchak salt turned out to be much better than the Elton salt in terms of chemical composition, the shores of the lake were less swampy, and the road to the nearest Volga pier was two times shorter.

The rapid development of the Baskunchak salt industry in just a few years forced the cessation of industrial salt mining at Elton (1863) and made Baskunchak the main supplier of salt to the domestic market of Russia.

For almost 200 years, the only tools used by salt workers in Baskunchak were a shovel and a pood pick. Standing almost to the waist in brine corroding the skin, the workers manually loosened the salt layer with a heavy pick and loaded the salt into carts drawn by camels. By 1934, manual salt mining was completely eliminated – three salt pumps worked on the lake – prototypes of modern combines.

Production Upgrade

Today, the salt mining and processing shop “Bassol” is in the final stage of global modernization and technical re-equipment of production.

In recent years, it has been possible to increase the productivity of the salt harvester at the mining site – now one machine produces the same amount of salt per day as before two.

All the main equipment of the enterprise has no analogues in the world, as it is manufactured according to individually developed drawings of the design and technical department of Russalt.

In 2010, the main conveyor lines were replaced with lightweight, less energy-intensive designs. In addition, a more modern gas drying complex was put into operation, new filters were installed to purify the air from salt dust.

The automated control system for the technological process of salt processing (speed and time sensors) made it possible to minimize labor and energy costs, as well as to ensure the safety of working conditions for production workers.

Since 2021, the company has been using an ultra-modern method of salt extraction – a new pick-up has been introduced, which makes the process more gentle and environmentally friendly. The famous rails laid in the salt brine of the lake, which so impress tourists from all over the world, will gradually leave the everyday life of an industrial enterprise. Salt from the lake to the conveyor-main lines is delivered by three tractors, each with a carrying capacity of 450 tons.

Salt Characteristics and Composition

In terms of its chemical composition, the deposited salt of Lake Baskunchak meets food standards and is a “living salt” enriched with micro and macro elements.

History says that many millions of years ago there was an ancient sea on the territory of the Lower Volga region. Due to the arid climate, strong winds and geological processes, the sea periodically receded, leaving its salt-concentrated waters in the lowlands, and with complete evaporation, salt.

Lake Baskunchak is the result of centuries-old processes of subsidence of salty springs of the ancient sea, this confirms the mineral composition of the salt. Like sea salt with a low content of sodium chloride, Baskunchak lake salt has a grayish-white color, which, depending on the location of the break, the type of layer, and the content of useful minerals, varies from creamy to rich sandy.


The enterprise supplies the market with about 1.7 million tons of products annually, providing the central and southern parts of Russia. Up to 30% of all Russian salt is produced here.

The Bassol range also includes various grindings of edible salt and industrial salt. Not far from the village of Nizhny Baskunchak, in the city of Akhtubinsk, there is a port from where technical salt is loaded onto barges.

Deposit Reserves

The process of formation of the Baskunchak salt deposit cannot be considered complete. Salt planting in the lake continues. This is facilitated by the continuous bowing of the basin, its lack of drainage, active feeding by underground and surface waters carrying sodium chloride in a sufficiently large amount, as well as a hot and dry climate, which ensures that evaporation exceeds atmospheric precipitation.

The continuous release of sodium chloride into the solid phase determines the amazing ability of the deposit to replenish reserves as they are developed, which ultimately characterizes the natural resources of table salt as inexhaustible.

Contact us

11 B Red Street, Nizhny Baskunchak Settlement, Akhtubinsky District, Astrakhan Region

+7 (85141) 5-50-00