Last week, Russia’s Uralkali reported a mine accident that could result in reduced global potash supplies, which would increase prices for the fertilizer worldwide.
Uralkali suspended work at its Solikamsk-2 mine, which accounts for a fifth of the company’s output and 3.5 percent of global capacity, following an inflow of water, Reuters reported.
The inflow of water caused a sinkhole, measuring 30 by 40 yards, to be found at an abandoned mine 2 miles to the east.
Chief Executive Dmitry Osipov told Reuter, "The accident is not catastrophic for the company's operations or people living in the area."
As a result of the current accident, Uralkali will consider accelerating the commissioning of new mining capacity at two other blocks—Ust-Yayvinsky and Polovodovsky—which are also in the Perm region near the Ural mountains, Osipov said.
The accident is a blow to Russia’s economy, which has been impacted by Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, a falling currency and a slowing economy.
The company has yet to determine the cause of the accident, but flooding is a common problem for the potash mining industry, reports indicate. In previous cases, clarity on the fate of the mine has emerged within a week, financial services company VTB Capital said.
Under the worst-case scenario -- flooding at both Solikamsk-2 and the Solikamsk-1 mine, which are separated by a concrete dam, Uralkali's capacity could decrease by 3.3 million tonnes from its current 13.3 million tonnes, VTB said in a note.