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Bauer carries out dam remediation project for Arab Potash Company

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World Fertilizer,

Bauer International FZE, a subsidiary of Bauer Spezialtiefbau GmbH, has completed the construction of approximately 112 000 m2 of cut-off wall over a length of 4.2 km on a dyke surrounding an earth basin used by the Arab Potash Company for carnallite production.

Bauer carries out dam remediation project for Arab Potash Company

Potash salt is obtained in several earth basins with an area of 112 km2 at the southern end of the Dead Sea in Jordan, in which the pumped salt water evaporates and the potash salt is left behind. The basins are located around 400 m below mean sea level and therefore at the lowest point on earth (above water). However, the dykes that surround the basins were becoming porous over time and needed to be repaired.

BAUER International FZE was given the commission in 2018. The project started in April 2019 and entertained interesting challenges: on the one hand, the work on the cut-off wall had to be carried out in just 16 months. On the other hand, complicated logistics, mobilisation of specialist staff, harsh weather conditions, extremely salty environment and other factors made things more difficult. The subsoil presented a special challenge: due to the hard crystalline salt layers, two cutters had to be used instead of grabs to build the cut-off wall. In addition, the high salt content had a negative effect on the support fluid and the setting properties of the concrete. Nevertheless, Bauer experts solved this problem and developed support fluids for the two-phase system based on salt-resistant clay mineral and polymers. Various worldwide deposits of bentonite were tested, until the suitable composition could be developed. The novel inclinometer guided sheet pile installation concept proved its reliability in achieving continuous interlocking.

“The trustful and highly cooperative relation with the owner, who provided all his remarkable support, was a crucial factor in overcoming a multitude of administrative and organisational hurdles”, reported Georges Abdo, Bauer FZE Managing Director in Jordan.

A further challenge was posed by the coronavirus as reached to Jordan. During the lockdown, and after the compulsory break, the client extended additional support and managed to get a special permit to start the work on the site while observing strict precautionary measures. A central crisis committee led by Bauer Project Manager Hassan Farhat ensured the implementation of the rectification measures in such a way that not only all obstacles could be overcome, but also making it possible to make up for the delays. In the end, Bauer was able to complete the project ahead of the planned schedule in October 2020 – BAUER International FZE has already been engaged to perform further remediation sections.

Image courtesy of Bauer Group

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