Conveyor steel roller
Conveyor Belts

A Record Breaking Conveyor System

The entire world is filled with conveyor belts. Pulled together a system conveyor rollers, these amazing pieces of technological innovation often go unnoticed and are underappreciated, but the world would be a very different place without them. They are utilised for everything from moving heavy boxes around shipping warehouses to a vital element in food making processes.

Deep inside the Western Sahara, in the middle of no other thing but unwelcoming wasteland, stands the world’s biggest conveyor belt system. It is so huge actually, that it can be seen from space. This massive framework stretches over 61 miles and is used to transport phosphate stone through the desert.

The automatic conveyor belt system begins its quest at the Bou Craa Phosphate Mine. Phosphate is used as a crucial farming fertiliser and this Moroccan-operated territory has above 85% of the world’s current reserves. Phosphate is in demand around the globe and we consume around Forty million tonnes annually, so it is clear why this type of large structure had to be constructed. The belt model is ST 2500 and is only 80cm broad but has a peak transporting capacity of Two thousand tonnes of crude phosphate stone per hour. The numerous conveyor rollers that comprise this system are essential to its easy operation.

The Bou Craa phosphate mine has been discovered in 1947 by the Spanish. The phosphate deposit found in the area have been unusually near to the surface and were of particularly high purity, therefore it made it a perfect location to mine, although mining did not completely begin before the 1960’s. Since the commencement of operations, the mine has continued to grow and now covers an incredible 1,225 hectares. Its production in 2001 was 1.5 million metric tonnes of refined phosphate, an unusually huge percentage of the world’s supply from just one mine.

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The belt, which is operating for longer than three decades, ends its 61 mile voyage in the El Aain coast where the load is refined and shipped. The belt is not enclosed and as time passes, moving phosphate rock continues to be carried by the prevailing winds and kilometres of land south from the belt now looks completely white from outerspace.


The Bou Craa conveyor belt has such a crucial role to play that if it ever failed, food costs all over the world would noticeably increase as supplies of phosphate fertiliser would become scarcer. Who’d have imagined a straightforward conveyor belt can be so tied to the worlds food supply? With only a small amount of exaggeration, you might state that the conveyor rollers and belt contained in this system are what allows millions of men and women around the world to eat.

The Bou Craa conveyor is really a feat of engineering and exceptional. It really is improbable that we’ll see another conveyor belt of similar dimensions built in our lifetimes.