The entire world is filled with conveyor belts. Pulled together a system conveyor rollers, these remarkable pieces of technological innovation usually go unnoticed and they are underappreciated, but the entire world might be a very different place without them. They are utilised for anything from transporting heavy boxes around shipping warehouses to the crucial element in food manufacturing processes.
Deep within the Western Sahara, in the middle of nothing else but barren desert, stands the earth’s largest conveyor belt system. It is so big actually, that it can be viewed from space. This massive framework extends over 61 kilometres and it is utilized to transport phosphate rock across the desert.
The automated conveyor belt system begins its experience at the Bou Craa Phosphate Mine. Phosphate is used as a vital farming fertilizer and this Moroccan-controlled territory has around 85% of the planet’s current reserves. Phosphate is sought after around the world and we all use up around Forty million tonnes annually, therefore it is clear why this kind of big structure needed to be built. The belt type is ST 2500 and it is only 80cm broad but features a maximum transporting capacity of 2000 tonnes of raw phosphate rock per hour. The many conveyor rollers that comprise this system are essential to its sleek operation.
The Bou Craa phosphate mine was discovered in The late 1940s by the Spanish. The phosphate deposits located in the area were actually unusually close to the surface and were definitely of particularly high purity, therefore it made it an ideal spot to mine, despite the fact that mining did not completely start before the 1960’s. Since the start of operations, the mine has continued to expand and today covers an incredible 1,225 hectares. Its output in 2001 was 1.5 million metric tonnes of refined phosphate, an uncommonly sizeable percentage of the planet’s supply from just one mine.
The belt, which is functioning for over 3 decades, ends its 61 mile voyage at the El Aain shoreline where its load is processed and distributed. The belt is not encased and with time, moving phosphate rock has been carried by the prevailing wind and kilometres of land south from the belt now appears completely white from outer space.
The Bou Craa conveyor belt has such an important role to play that in case it ever failed, food prices worldwide would significantly increase as stocks of phosphate fertilizer would come to be scarcer. Who would have believed a simple conveyor belt could be so fixed to the worlds food supply? With a tiny bit of exaggeration, you might say that the conveyor rollers and belt contained within this system are what enables billions of men and women around the globe to eat.
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The Bou Craa conveyor is a accomplishment of technology and extraordinary. It really is unlikely that we will see another conveyor belt of similar proportions built in our lives.