Niagara, Canada (January 2, 2012) - Whiting Equipment Canada Inc. announced today an agreement with VALE for the turnkey supply of salt evaporators and potash crystallizers for their Potasio Rio Colorado (PRC) potash solution mining plant in Argentina’s Mendoza Province.
The U$150-U$300-million potash crystallization plant is the heart of the U$4.2 billion investment VALE is making in PRC including significant social and environmental development in Argentina. Another Canadian company, SNC-Lavalin, will provide the balance-of-plant engineering.
Construction of the crystallization plant is expected to begin in December 2012 with the facility operational in January, 2014. Once operational the plant will increase world production of potash by 5-percent, producing 2.4-million tonnes of potash per year (tpa), with potential phased-in increases to 4.2 million tpa before 2020. The current world potash market is about 50 million tpa. Canada is the largest producer (35%); China is the largest consumer (27%).
“Canadians are world leaders in solution mining and potash processing,” said H.- Rudi Kroeker, President and CEO of Whiting Equipment Canada Inc. “This project clearly demonstrates Canada’s leadership in this field.”
“This is the world’s first new green-field solution mining project of this size in over 40 years,” Kroeker said. “All the process engineering and equipment design was completed at Whiting’s facility in Niagara, Canada.”
The project is expected to create approximately 800 jobs in Canada and the US.
Whiting Equipment Canada’s most recent potash crystallization plant equipment will begin start up this spring at Qinghai Salt Lake located in Western China. Whiting Equipment Canada has delivered the first order for long-delivery alloy materials required to fabricate similar capacity evaporation/crystallization equipment for Potash One’s (K+S) Legacy Project potash solution mine in Southern Saskatchewan.
Whiting Equipment Canada uses technology invented by their sister company Swenson Technology Inc. (Monee, Illinois) to develop the process and engineer their potash processing equipment. Most of the world’s operating potash plants use Swenson processes and/or equipment with 36 installations world-wide.
About Solution Mining
First performed in Saskatchewan 50 years ago with Swenson’s technology, solution mining uses water to dissolve potash from deep underground ore zones. The brine is taken from the well field; the salt and potash are separated through a process of fractional crystallization. The resulting salt and potash slurries are then sent through dewatering equipment. The water is then pumped back into the well to dissolve more potash.
About Whiting Equipment Canada Inc.
Whiting Equipment Canada Inc. engineers and manufactures high quality custom designed equipment for chemical & metallurgical industries, materials handling & railways, mass transit, and other sectors across North America and around the world. Whiting Equipment Canada Inc. is a subsidiary of Whiting Corporation (Monee, Illinois).