K+S approves first potash mine in Saskatchewan in 40 years

Saskatchewan's first potash mine in 40 years was approved today in the small city of Moose Jaw.

German potash producer K+S Aktiengesellschaft said its supervisory board approved CAD$3.25 billion in capital expenditures to build a solution potash mine at the Legacy property, which K+S acquired from Potash One when it bought the company for $434 million nearly one year ago to the date.

"The Legacy Project is a significant step towards the expansion of our potash capacities and enables us to participate in the growth of the global potash market. Together with our existing potash mines in Germany, this will considerably strengthen the international competitiveness of K+S and consequently benefit the entire K+S Group in Europe and overseas,” said Norbert Steiner, K+S Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors.

At about 18%, the K2O content is higher than that of the German sites and will therefore enable more efficient and more economic extraction, K+S noted:

“The new site will have a positive impact on our average production costs and increase our flexibility," said Steiner.

K+S has proven up 160 million tonnes of reserves in its initial exploration area. The mine is expected to produce 2.86 million tonnes of potassium chloride per year by 2023, with a possible extension to 4 million tpa.  The minelife is set at 55 years, with production and first volumes expected in 2015.

Mike Ferguson, K+S Potash Canada vice president and project manager, said in Moose Jaw that the mine is expected to need 1100 workers during the construction phase, and employ more than 300 when completed, The Star Phoenix reported. 

Image of a loader with aggregate material is courtesy of K+S.