Vancouver-based Western Resources Corp. (TSE: WRX) says its subsidiary, Western Potash began production drilling on July 14 at the Milestone in situ potash project 35 km southeast of Regina.
Western is calling Milestone the newest and “most innovative, environmentally friendly and capital efficient” potash producer in Canada. This is the world’s first potash mine that will leave no salt tailings on the surface. Water consumption is also significantly reduced.
The first phase of the project will reach the high grade potash bed using horizontal drilling techniques. The potash will be selectively leached into solution and pumped to the surface.
The drilling program will last about four months and consist of six wells that connect to three underground caverns. Each cavern has an injection well under the potash bed and a withdrawal well that carries the brine to the surface.
The caverns will first undergo “cold” mining during which the brine in the caverns will be saturated with salt. Then in the “hot” mining step, the brine will be recirculated through the caverns and extract the potassium chloride. The saturated liquid will be stored in ponds.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)