The Greatest Conveyor System on earth
The world is full of conveyor belts. Taken along a system conveyor rollers, these amazing components of technology often go unnoticed and therefore are underappreciated, but the world might be a very different place without them. They are utilised for everything from moving heavy boxes around shipping warehouses to a essential element in food production operations.
Deep within the Western Sahara, surrounded by no other thing but dry wasteland, stands the earth's greatest conveyor belt system. It's so large in fact, that it can be viewed from space. This massive structure extends over 61 kilometers and it is used to transport phosphate rock across the desert. sprocket rollers
The automatic conveyor belt system starts its trip at the Bou Craa Phosphate Mine. Phosphate is required as a essential farming fertilizer and this Moroccan-controlled territory has around 85% of the world's current reserves. Phosphate is in high demand around the globe and we use up about Forty million tonnes annually, so it is obvious why this kind of big structure had to be created. The belt type is ST 2500 and is only 80cm wide but has a maximum carrying capacity of 2000 tonnes of crude phosphate rock an hour. The many conveyor rollers that make up this system are crucial to its smooth functioning.
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The Bou Craa phosphate mine has been discovered in 1947 by the Spanish. The phosphate deposits located in the area have been uncommonly close to the surface and were of specially high purity, therefore it made it an ideal location to mine, even though mining didn't fully begin before the 1960's. Since the beginning of operations, the mine has continued to expand and already covers an incredible 1,225 hectares. The production in 2001 was 1.5 million metric tonnes of processed phosphate, an unusually large percentage of the world's supply from just one mine. conveyor rollers
The belt, that has been operating for more than thirty years, ends its 61 mile journey in the El Aain coast where the load is processed and shipped. The belt isn't encased and over time, moving phosphate rock continues to be transported by the prevailing winds and kilometers of land south of the belt now looks completely white from space.
The Bou Craa conveyor belt has such an important role to play that if it ever failed, food costs worldwide would significantly raise as stocks of phosphate fertiliser would become scarcer. Who'd have thought a simple conveyor belt could be so fixed to the worlds food supply? With a modest amount of exaggeration, you could say that the conveyor rollers and belt contained in this particular system are what enables millions of people all over the world to eat.
The Bou Craa conveyor is really a accomplishment of technology and one of a kind. It's unlikely that we'll see one more conveyor belt of similar proportions built in our lifetimes.