An incident at the “Belaruskaliy”
An intergovernmental commission Headed by First Vice-Premier Vladimir Semashko was established in Belarus to eliminate the threat of flooding of one of the mining sites at “Belaruskaliy”.
In late June 2011 “Belaruskaliy” suffered from the flooding of the mine pits of the 2nd pit-management by brine contained in the rock. Following the incident the company built a temporary waterproofing bridge and started maintenance works. At the time being the officials reported the brine inflow has declined. On 28 July journalists from the state-owned media were allowed to report from the mine pits to prove that engineers had full control over the situation.
Regardless of the official optimism, independent experts say there was still a possibility of complete flooding of the mine. The incident, the scope and consequences of which are carefully hidden, implies that the market value of the company will go down, as well as interest of potential investors. At the same time, the government seriously expects to sell 20-50% stakes of the company at $ 30 billion. Uncertainty with the emergency situation at the “Belaruskaliy” finally takes off the agenda the issue of selling of its shares at least until the end of 2011.
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.