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Accomplishment of Engineering

Accomplishment of Engineering

conveyor rollers

The world is full of conveyor belts. Taken along a system conveyor rollers, these amazing pieces of technology usually go unnoticed and therefore are underappreciated, but the entire world would have been a very different place without them. They are used for anything from moving heavy boxes around shipping warehouses to the crucial element in food manufacturing processes.

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Deep inside the Western Sahara, surrounded by nothing else but dry desert, stands the world’s largest conveyor belt system. It is so huge in fact, that it can be seen from space. This massive structure extends over 61 kilometres and is used to move phosphate stone over the desert.

The automated conveyor belt system begins its experience at the Bou Craa Phosphate Mine. Phosphate is required as a crucial agricultural fertiliser and this Moroccan-operated territory has more than 85% of the planet’s current reserves. Phosphate is sought after around the globe and we all use up around Forty million tonnes per year, so it is obvious why such a big structure needed to be built. The belt model is ST 2500 and it is only 80cm broad but features a maximum transporting capacity of 2000 tonnes of raw phosphate rock an hour. The many conveyor rollers that comprise this system are crucial to the sleek operation.

The Bou Craa phosphate mine has been discovered in The late 1940s by the Spanish. The phosphate deposits situated in the area were unusually near to the surface and were of particularly high purity, so it made it an ideal spot to mine, though mining did not completely begin before the 1960’s. Since the commencement of operations, the mine continues to grow and now covers an astounding 1,225 hectares. Its production in 2001 was 1.5 million metric tonnes of processed phosphate, an abnormally huge proportion of the world’s supply from a single mine.

The belt, which is functioning for more than thirty years, ends its 61 mile voyage in the El Aain coastline where its load is refined and distributed. The belt is not enclosed and over time, drifting phosphate rock has been carried by the prevailing wind and miles of land south from the belt now appears totally white from outerspace.


The Bou Craa conveyor belt has such a vital role to play that in case it ever failed, food costs around the world would substantially increase as supplies of phosphate fertiliser would come to be scarcer. Who’d have imagined a simple conveyor belt could be so tied to the worlds food supply? With only a small amount of exaggeration, you could state that the conveyor rollers and belt contained within this system are what allows millions of people all over the world to eat.

The Bou Craa conveyor is a accomplishment of engineering and extraordinary. It’s improbable that we’ll see another conveyor belt of comparable dimensions built in our lifetimes.

Pamela Simmmons