Source: World Dredging Mining & Construction
In a remote region of northwest China, mining of salts containing Mirabilite began in 1958, supporting a small village. The Xingjiang Salt Lake Chemical Plant, in China's Xingjiang Province, is located about 70 km east of the city Urumqi. Mining was conducted initially with backhoes and fed a small processing plant. In addition to Mirabilite, other salts are extracted and used in China's commercial industry.
In the 1980's the dredging industry was starting to gain a position in furnishing bucketwheel suction dredges to the mining industry. In the mid 1980's, with the help of China's Foreign Trade Bureau, talks were initiated with other dredge manufacturers, and with Ellicott® International, to supply the Chinese agency with a dredge.
Ellicott® was able to demonstrate to the Chinese its success with projects similar to the Xingjiang Project, such as FMC Corp.'s Green River, Wyoming USA Potash Mine; Francana Minerals' Canadian Salt Mine; Mineracao Taboca's Tin Mine in Brazil; Marcopper in the Philippines with copper tailings; and Elliana in Israel, mining salt/potash. All were successful and used Ellicott®'s Bucketwheel Salt Mining Dredges.
The Chinese authorities made a decision to purchase one for their salt mine project. In the early 1990's Xingjiang Salt Lake Chemical Company contracted with Ellicott® to supply one B-890 Bucketwheel Salt Mining Dredge. The arrival of the dredge provided two services: (1) it got the Xingjiang Project back on its feet, and (2) introduced Ellicott® dredges into the People's Republic of China.
As soon as word got around that Xingjiang's salt production had gone up almost 100%, other province leaders started to arrive at the salt mine to observe the dredge operation. They began to see how to adapt this mining tool to their own needs, and are in discussions with Ellicott® concerning additional dredges for mining in China.
Reprinted from World Dredging Mining & Construction