Western Potash announces plans to move ahead on Milestone Project?

Western Potash announces plans to move ahead on Milestone Project

ASHLEY ROBINSON, REGINA LEADER-POST

Published on: April 16, 2017 | Last Updated: April 16, 2017 12:48 PM CST

 Western potash 1

The proposed design for the 146,000 tonne per year Western Potash pilot plant at Milestone. MILESTONE POTASH CORP. 

 

The Rural Municipality of Lajord isn’t holding its breath when it comes to the Western Potash project at Milestone.

“(Western Potash) told us eight years ago they’re going to be (building it) so thats the bottom- line. I can’t get excited anymore, when we see things move ahead then we’ll start getting excited,” said Erwin Beitel, reeve of RM of Lajord.

The long-delayed potash mine is once again slated to move forward. On Tuesday, Western Potash held an open house in Kronau — one of many held over the years.

The project was first proposed in 2009, with an original plan to produce 2.8 million tonnes of potash per year. At the time potash prices were US$400 per tonne, but then the economy dipped and potash prices fell, causing the project to be delayed.

“Rather than shove all our plans, we went back to the drawing board and came up with an innovative solution mine which uses a different technique. The advantages are it uses half the water and a lot less energy,” said Matthew Wood, senior vice president of projects for Western Potash – Milestone Project.

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The proposed design for the 146,000 tonne per year Western Potash pilot plant at Milestone. MILESTONE POTASH CORP. 

Western Potash is easing into the new design by first building a pilot plant that will be about five per cent of the size of the original plant and produce 146,000 tonnes of potash per year. The new technology also doesn’t include an above ground tailings pond which Beitel is pleased with.

“As far as the RM is concerned, its good for us because I don’t like to see salt on top of the ground,” he said.

The technology has been used before in Europe and the United States, but this is the first time it will be used in Canada.

“Saskatchewan rocks are very unique, so there’s a little bit of a risk trying this technology in a new environment and thats really what the pilot plan is about, discovering how this technology works in Saskatchewan,” Wood said.

Western Potash plans to collect data from the plant during the first year it is running and from there start planning to build a larger plant within the next decade.

The plan is to break ground on the pilot project, located about five miles south of Kronau, by the end of the year or start of next. Construction will take 12 to 18 months, with production expected to start in 2019.

The plant is expected to create up 150 construction jobs and 20 to 30 permanent jobs once it opens. It is believed it will bring $300 million of direct and indirect benefits to the economy.

Potash prices are beginning to rebound and are now sitting at US$215 per tonne.

 

 

About prosperitysaskatchewan

Consultant on Saskatchewan's natural resources.

Posted on April 17, 2017, in economic impact, political, potash. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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