Jordan’s Arab Potash Company (APC) has said up to 30 groups have submitted an application to prequalify for the for the construction and repair of dykes that contain pipelines transporting brine from salt pans from the Dead Sea to its potash production facilities in the south and west of the Lisan Peninsula.

The groups comprise mostly international and regional contractors, according to the company.

The evaluation of the prequalification documents is expected to take at least another two weeks.

Lebanon’s Dar al-Handasah (Shair and Partners) has been commissioned to undertake detailed design of the rehabilitation and reinstatement of the dykes, which have been out of operation since 1999. The detailed design and scope of construction works are underway.

The dykes (19 and 20), measuring 11.6 kilometres in length and about 14 metres in height, were damaged shortly after their construction and during the first impoundment of brine water from the solar evaporation pond (salt pan) SP-OB in 1999.

Potash is a potassium-containing mineral that is a primary raw material in the global fertiliser industry.

According to APC, the breach in 1999 resulted in the loss of about 55 million cubic metres of brine water back into the Dead Sea in a short period of time. The flowing brine water caused the complete loss of 2.3km of the dyke.

The site of dykes 19 and 20 is characterised by special subsurface conditions including the presence of thick soft clay deposits that undergo substantial settlement when loaded, presence of multiple ground water aquifers, artesian pressure, and appearance of sinkholes related to continuous lowering in the Dead Sea level.