Canadian government solicits public opinion on proposed $2.4bn potash mine

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is soliciting the opinions of the public on a proposal to construct a CND$2.4 billion potash mine north of Regina on land held by the Muskowekwan First Nations.

CTV News reports that the agency is in the process of deciding whether a formal review of the planned mine is required and has set a deadline of January 3 for public comment.

The proposal for the mine has been been submitted under the name of First Potash Ventures by Encanto Resources Ltd. (TSXV:EPO) and the Muskowekwan First Nation (MFN).

Under the planned project the mine would produced up to 2.8 million tonnes of potash per year for up to half a century, with the MFN receiving royalties of up to $80 million per year.

Construction is slated to start between 2014 and 2016 and commence operation as soon as mid-2017. The mine is expected by project planners to generate as many 1,000 construction and 500 mining jobs.

Encanto believes that its partnership with the MFN ensures that regulatory processes will proceed more smoothly.

Working with the (MFN) Muskowekwan First Nation is a critical advantage when it comes to reducing length of permitting time and potentially the length of time to production as we are required to only deal with two stakeholders (our First Nation partners and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada) for permitting.

Encanto CEO James Walchuck says he expects the federal government to launch a full environmental assessment, but remains confident that the project will satisfy regulatory requirements at all levels and says that both federal and provincial governments have expressed their strong support.