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Boost for Siberian salt mines as Russia bans Western imports

By The Siberian Times reporter
04 November 2016

Increase in production expected after the government halts imports from countries imposing sanctions.

'I believe that there is enough salt in Russia, and that the government made the right decision.' Picture: Anna Dukhnitskaya

Imports from Western countries which have imposed sanctions on Russia accounts for around 18% of edible and 64% of technical salt supplies. The ban, which came into effect on 1 November, is an extension to a food embargo imposed in August 2014 over the Ukrainian crisis. 

It is now expected that Russian producers will see a boost to their production to make up for the shortfall. The largest salt supplier in Siberia and the Russian Far East is Tiretsky rock salt-mining plant in Irkutsk region. 

General director Mikhail Karamushka said the mine is ready to increase production by 20%. 

Map


Tiretsky mine


Tiretsky mine


Tiretsky mine

The largest salt supplier in Siberia and the Russian Far East is Tiretsky rock salt-mining plant in Irkutsk region. Picture: The Siberian Times, Tiretsalt

'Now the company produces about 500,000 tons per year, the market is stable enough, and there will be no pitfalls with the embargo,' he said.

The company's current share is around 10% of the Russian market. There are salt reserves of around 600 million tons. 

The salt is derived from parched shallow lagoons of an ancient ocean that existed in the Paleozoic era 500 million years ago. Salt is mined at a depth of some 600 metres. The technology allows to preserve the natural purity of the salt.

Map


Burlinskoye lake


Burlinskoye lake


Burlinskoye lake


Burlinskoye

The Altai region has one of the most colourful production sites for salt - Lake Burlinskoye. Pictures: The Siberian Times, Drive2, Vera Baymukhametova, My Travelbook, Mir Kamnya

Largest Russian national producer Russol includes the Usolsky salt deposit, also in Irkutsk region, and once mined by prisoners from Stalin's Gulag forced labour system. 

Sergey Cherny, general director of Russol, said: 'I believe that there is enough salt in Russia, and that the government made the right decision. Previously imports of salt from Ukraine were banned, and there were no problems, no special excitement on the market, and no deficit.'

The Altai region has one of the most colourful production sites for salt, highlighted recently by The Siberian Times. 

Lake Burlinskoye - the source of salt favoured by Catherine the Great - turns pink every August due to microorganisms in the water called Artemia salina. 

Comments (3)

Fascinating to see pictures of your beautiful country. I would love to have pink salt to eat.
Tecress Aune, Saint John, Canada
12/11/2016 02:46
3
0
...General director Mikhail Karamushka said the mine is ready to increase production by 20%....

how long are the sanctions in place? and only NOW he comes with this statement? fire the guy for incompetence and let people work who understand business. and are ready to act immideately and not after 2 years...
Benedikt, Moscow
06/11/2016 23:56
2
1
It is the right approach for Russia to rely on its own ressources, to produce what is possible within Russia, import what is necessary and export competetive products. In Denmark it is impossible to buy a Russian product, that is of course due to boycot and sanctions but the world is much bigger than the NATO countries. Trade is good for all but Russia has an obligation to protect itself. Just avoid isolation as in the communist times. From several trips in Russia I know that many modest products in Russia might have a place in the international market with some proper marketing and minor ajustments in say design. Russia can do it of course !
William McLean, Denmark
06/11/2016 21:30
8
0
1

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