Potash Mine Revisited

Discussion in 'Robin At His Best' started by Matthyro, Sep 7, 2003.

  1. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I had built a potash mine on my previous layout and am now rebuilding it to go on my current layout.
    Here is a photo of the original one.

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  2. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    That's an interesting structure Robin. Are you going to alter it a lot or stick close to the original? Get ready for another great thread folks!
  3. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    The will be changes Ralph as the space is different and mines have modernised some.
    To give you some idea of how potash is mined.
    All but one of Saskatchewan's Potash mines are conventional in that a vertical shaft has been sunk to intercept the potash beds. Self propelled continuous borers cut into the potash, creating 'rooms', or tunnels, which may stretch several kilometres from the bottom of the shaft.
    The continuous boreborer is a massive machine equipped with two or four contra-rotating heads that cut out many tonnes of ore every hour. The ore is passed through the borer, then then loaded into electric shuttle cars to be carried to underground crushers near the shaft. In due course the ore is carried to the surface.
    In the mines milling complex,the raw ore must be broken up to separate the individual crystals of potassium chloride from impurities, notably salt and clay. The ore is crushed, mixed with brine, ground, chafed, and mixed with chemical reagents. The crystals are skimmed off and spun in a centrifuge, then dried and graded.
    The finished product, known as muriate of potash is stored in dome shaped warehouses to await shipment. Potash is used in the making of commercial fertilizer.

    This photo shows an actual mine and even though it is taken from a distance, you still can't see the whole project. My model will be a huge compromise but I will try to create something that looks OK

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  4. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I have started by making the main shaft head. As most often, I start by making the base shape out of corrugated cardboard.
    The headgear is 150 feet high. The top is 40 ft. by 40ft. and the base is 80 ft. by 80 ft,

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  5. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Next I cut the shapes out of cerealboard

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  6. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Two of the sides glued in place

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  7. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    Great Robin. Another step by step. I love following these threads.
  8. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Then the other two sides. This is now ready to be painted

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  9. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

    Seems another masterpiece is growing.
    Great job.

  10. IAIS 604

    IAIS 604 Member

    I have a question, Robin.

    "Potash" is the common name for potassium carbonate. In your discussion, you discuss isolating potassium chloride ...

    (or muriated potash, which would be potash reacted with muriatic, that is hydrochloric, acid, which would give you the chloride, thus the name)

    ... is the mined chloride chemically modified on the site to the carbonate, or is this done somewhere else ???

    The usual process involves reacting the chloride with carbon dioxide to produce potassium bicarbonate, which upon heating yields the carbonate.

    (Sorry about the chemistry, but I am interested in the process! And yeah, I am a chemist!)

    If done off site at another plant, it might also be interesting if you had your trains ship the chloride to that plant, where the actual potash was produced. Another model to build !!!

    Great model of the mine, and a very interesting process!
  11. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Welcome to the Gauge IAIS 604
    I must admit I don't have any experience in potash mining and rely on information I get from Saskatchewan books and what I could see as I drove through the province. I did live in Saskatoon for a number of years . What I didn't include in my write up is that on delivery to the customer, it is probably mixed with other elements to make commercial fertilizer. The United States remains the best customer for Saskatchewan potash buying about 70% of the total production. Canada consumes 5%, and the rest is shipped to Japan, China, India and Brazil. Saskatchewan supplies 40% of the potash available on the world market.
    I appreciate the info you provided IAIS 604 and hope you give more so we really understand the process.
  12. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    funny as it seems, but I think the mining people really call potassium chloride 'potash', although we usually use that name for potassium carbonate.

    I found a few nice links: Link 1 (Esterhazy, Canada) with nice pics, then Link 2 (Boulby, UK) and Link 3 (Rocanville Canada), the last two with technical details in the text.

    I almost can't believe it, my friend: Hardly did you finish your leatest project, the Fullard Glass Co., and already you are going full blast with this new enterprise. Of course I'm excited to look over your shoulders, when your Potash Mine grows out of the cereal boxes. :D

  13. IAIS 604

    IAIS 604 Member

    Ron -

    Thanks for the links! Very interesting!

    And I see what you mean - it seems that potassium chloride is now also called "potash" - shows how confusing things were (are?) when Lavoisier's nomenclature is not used! A chemist would never mistake potassium chloride for the carbonate, but if industry calls both "potash" ......

    For fertilizer (assuming the potassium ion was the main thing of importance), there would be no problem, but for other industral products there would be a BIG difference!

    Either way, it IS an interesting process, and is a great thing to model!

    In my neck of the woods, I want to build some of Clinton, Iowa's chemical industry (ca 1996) - a DuPont plastics (polyethylene) plant and an ADM corn products plant. But that will be a while - gotta get my benchwork and my small Iowa town (Fairfield, where the RI track crosses the BNSF track) set back up after the move from Bettendorf. Then move the track up to the QCA Nahant yard, THEN up river to Clinton. So ONE day .....

    Again, thanks for the info Ron, and great work Robin - you are inspiring me to get to my chemcial plants!
  14. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Thanks Ron for these excellent links so now anyone who wants to know anything about potash can find out here. Good luck with your chemical plant George. Hope to see pictures here when you get buildings going.
  15. mhdishere

    mhdishere Member

    Wow Robin! I was away for a week and you finished the glass company and started a potash mine! I am, as always, simply amazed.
  16. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    I second mdh's comments - but then I look at the thread and say "He always does this." It is getting to be "habit" that when a MAT product comes on line it is amazing. It is just great so see the skills and actual productivity that you possess. I, too, stand in awe!!!:) :) :)
  17. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Thanks folks.
    The main headgear is ready for some more weathering and to be installed on my layout. There are many more structures that are needed to make up this mine.
    I did the letters with Corel Xara.

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  18. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    This section of buildings will serve to load the potash into gondolas.

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  19. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I am now using fibre window screening for windows as the squares are smaller than the flex tape is. Here I glued the screening on the back of what will be a wall. Now I could have cut the screening a bit smaller and will do that next time

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  20. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Here is what the wall looks like. Painting to follow.

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