|Operator||K+S Potash Canada|
2.0 Mtpa potassium chloride KCl (planned for 2017)
|Reserves & Resources||
160 Mt KCl (Proven & Probable, Dec 2011)
|Mine Life||Beyond 2035|
Drilling equipment, submersible pumps
|Processing equipment||Pumps, Vacuum cooling crystallization system, Crystallization pond, Mills, Driers|
K+S Potash Canada
Last updated: September 18, 2012
The Legacy (KP 289) greenfield potash project is situated approximately 80 km northwest of the city of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. The potash project was developed by Potash One. The company was bought by K+S AG in March 2011 for 322.5 million euros. The German company is the world's fifth larger potash producer and the world's top salt producer. K+S has mines in Europe, North and South America.
The KP 289 mineral tenements were explored for potash as early as 1960s when drilling and seismic refraction surveys were undertaken by Imperial Oil and Lumsden Potash. Both companies proceeded to undertake solution mining tests but the permits were allowed to lapse in late 1960s.
Three economic potash beds lying at 1,500 m depth are to be mined by using the solution mining method. The Environmental Impact Statement was approved in 2010 for up to 4 million tonnes potassium chloride (KCl) per year.Potash destined for Asian markets would be transported by railroad over a 2,000 km distance to the Port of Vancouver, Canada or similar Washington State, US ports.
Cash cost of production would be about 95 CAD per tonne, and when factoring in the logistic costs would rise to about 165 CAD per tonne. The cash cost production is lower for Legacy than for the company’s German assets.
The minimum potash price for the project to achieve a return on capital employed of 12% before taxes is of USD 400 to 450 per tonne.
June 20, 2012 marked the official start of the construction for the $3.25 billion potash project. Two initial expansion phases would see the mine producing 2.0 million KCl tonnes per year by the end of 2017. A gradual expansion would mean that the mine would produce a maximum of 4 million tonnes KCl per year by 2033.
The new potash mine is in the R.M. of Dufferin, about 38 kilometers northeast of Moose Jaw in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. Permit KP 289 is located immediately to the south of Highway 11 and between the towns of Findlater and Bethune.
Saskatchewan is Canadian Prairie province. Other than agriculture and cattle ranching the province's economy is largely supported by the mining industry. Saskatchewan produces 30% of the world's supply of potash.
The Legacy mine site is located at 565 m above sea level elevation on a flat to gently rolling terrain made of grassland and farmland. Subsurface Mineral Permit KP 289 consists of 97,392 acres of land with Crown Mineral Rights.
Climate is typical of the prairie regions with cold winters and hot summers.
The sylvite (potash) deposits of Saskatchewan formed over 350 million years ago as a result of the final stage of evaporative concentration of sea water in a middle Devonian sea. The flay-lying sedimentary beds extend from central Alberta, Canada through Saskatchewan, Canada to Manitoba, Canada, North Dakota, USA, and Montana, USA. They consist of interbedded halite (NaCl), sylvite (KCl), carnallite (KCl.MgCl2.6H2O), clay, and minor anhydrite and dolomite beds.
The productive Praire Evaporite Formation comprises a series of flat-lying sedimentary deposits of interbedded sylvite (KCl), carnallite, halite beds and clay and dolomite beds.
Stratigraphy of the region is dominated by three important potash bearing beds: the upper Patience Lake member (exploited by mines employing underground and solution mining methods); the middle Belle Plaine member (solution mining); and the lower Esterhazy member (underground and solution mining).At Legacy mine site their cumulate thickness is of 36.33 m at an average grade of 26.69% KCl.
Potash deposits in Saskatchewan are about 1,000 m to 3,000 m below surface and are flat lying and pretty much undisturbed. The ore is made of approximately 55 percent sodium chloride (rock salt), 40 percent potassium chloride (KCl, or potash) and 5 percent clay and other insoluble materials. It also contains small quantities of iron oxide which colors the ore in red or pink.
Saskatchewan hosts 50% of the world's potash reserves.
As of December 2011, Proven & Probable Resources for the Legacy Project area were 160 million KCl (29% KCl), while the Inferred and Indicated Resources for the Legacy project and the KLSA 009 stood at 982 million tonnes KCl (27%).
The potash solution mining method involves drilling of a hole that cuts through the productive potash beds and pumping of hot water to create a cavity and take the salts into solution. The brine would then be pumped to surface through another adjacent hole.
Primary mining uses freshwater. The connection of two boreholes to a cavern with the corresponding creation of a surface is initially created by NaCl solution mining below the KCl-rich Esterhazy Seam. The deposit is gradually solution-mined in up to 3 m thick horizontal layers through the three potash seams. This process is controlled vertically by an oil barrier (a thin layer on the surface of the brine). During the primary mining process, the cavern expands to create an ideal form for commencing secondary mining.
Secondary mining exclusively uses a NaCl-saturated brine in order to dissolve selectively KCl from the walls and roof of the existing caverns. Along with a lower energy intensity, secondary mining –in comparison to primary mining –is substantially more efficient with the use of water.
The solution is pumped through pipelines from the well field into the process plant for processing. Potassium chloride (KCl) from primary mining is being recovered by using a vacuum cooling crystallization process. KCI crystallization takes place from the secondary mining solution in the crystallization pond.
The solid process by-product (NaCl) is stored in the tailings management area (TMA).
Natural gas would be used as primary energy carrier. Power would be obtained from available public power lines. Water is supplied from the nearby Buffalo Pound Lake.
Potash destined to Asian markets would be transported by rail to the ports of Vancouver, Longview or Portland over a distance of 2,000 km.
The first two expansions would see KCl production reaching 2.0 million tonnes per year by the end of 2017. This will be followed by the gradual expansion of production capacity to 2.86 million tonnes a year in 2023. In a third expansion phase, a total output of a maximum 4 million tonnes of potassium chloride a year would then be possible about ten years later.
K+S Potash Canada core vaues are:
- Sustainable Success
- Social Responsibility
- Respect and fairness in dealings with business partners and employees
- Promotion of personal competence in our employees