First Use of the Double Steel and Concrete Sandwich Lining for Keeping High-Pressure Water Out of a Potash Shaft

Shaft sinking for exploitation of the deep potash beds in Saskatchewan involved great difficulties from the very first because of the need to exclude from the shaft the high-pressure water encountered in the overburden. Control of the troublesome Blairmore quicksands was achieved relatively quickly by use of the freezing method and by lining with cast iron tubbing. The unsolved problem remained, however, of sealing the water-bearing Devonian where the formations had extremely low permeability and were thus hard to grout. Long experience in German potash mines had shown that the permanency of the whole mine would be seriously endangered if large amounts of unsaturated salt water were allowed to flow in from the shaft wall and merely removed by pumping. The prevention of water movement and the resulting dissolution of salt in the overburden were known to be most important. In the Alwinsal shaft, water flow from the Devonian has been prevented by the use of a steel and concrete sandwich Iining similar in principle to a kind of lining introduced a few years earlier, and for another reason, in German coal shafts. As its installation is neither more expensive nor more time consuming than that of cast iron tubbing lining, this same lining was also chosen as protection against the Blairmore quicksands. The great advantage of the steel lining, in addition to its relatively high strength, is the fact that it is possible to make the joints of the individual segments absolutely and permanently water-tight by means of tested welds. The virtual dryness of the Alwinsal shaft will also result in lower costs because significant corrosion of all its steel installations, including skips, cage and ropes, will be prevented.
Keywords: cast iron, Devonian Dawson Bay, Devonian Steel Lining Section, Lanigan, Saskatchewan, potash, Concrete, Lining, Linings, Shafts, steel, Steel linings, Steels, Water, Waters
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