Railway opens through the 'sea of death'

Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-7-23 0:25:02

China finished Sunday construction on a railway to Lop Nur, a dried lake in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region that is known as the "sea of death" for its high salt content.

The construction of the railway, which stretches from Hami Prefecture on the China-Mongolia border to Lop Nur near China's largest desert, the Taklamakan, started two years ago with an investment of 3 billion yuan ($476 million).

The railway was co-sponsored by the Ministry of Railways, the regional government of Xinjiang and a branch of the State Development and Investment Corporation (SDIC), a State-owned investment giant that operates a potassium fertilizer base in Lop Nur.

Trains will stop at nine stations before reaching Lop Nur, an area that has an estimated 500 million tons of potassium salt.

The company produces 1.2 million tons of salt a year and is working on a larger project.

China consumes more than 10 million tons of potassium salt each year, 70 percent of which is imported. China's reserves total about 457 million tons, less than 3 percent of the world's total.

The "sea of death" also has large reserves of non-ferrous metals, including nickel, gold and copper, local authorities said.

The railway will have a freight capacity of 30 million tons a year and will lower transportation costs by 80 yuan per ton, the Urumqi Railway Bureau said.

Lop Nur was the largest lake in Northwest China before it dried up in 1972 as a result of desertification and environmental degradation.


Posted in: Society

blog comments powered by Disqus