Prosperity Saskatchewan

First ship carrying potash from K+S mine leaves Port Moody terminal for Asia

First ship carrying potash from K+S mine leaves Port Moody terminal for Asia

SASKATOON STARPHOENIX

Published on: October 26, 2017 | Last Updated: October 26, 2017 7:07 PM CST

The company behind Saskatchewan’s newest potash mine says its first ship loaded with fertilizer has weighed anchor and departed from its west coast terminal for customers in Asia.

K+S Potash Canada (KSPC) said in a news release that the ship carrying 30,000 tonnes of potash extracted from its $4.1-billion Bethune mine left its handling facility in Port Moody, near Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday.

Burkhard Lohr, chairman of K+S AG, KSPC’s parent company, said in a statement that the commissioning of the company’s new port terminal and the departure of the first ship are a “decisive step forward.”

“We have started to supply the market with products from our new potash plant. We will also work consistently on proceeding with the next stage in the project, the ramping up of technical capacity to two million tonnes by the end of the year.”

The mine is expected to have a full production capacity of 2.9 million tonnes per year.

KSPC’s Bethune mine is the first new potash operation to be built in Saskatchewan in four decades. The Port Moody storage and handling facility is the product of a 2014 deal between KSPC and Pacific Coast Terminals Co. Ltd.

The price of potash has cratered since K+S AG announced plans to build the mine northwest of Regina, falling by more than 50 per cent, but the company has said it is taking a long-term view and relying on its low production costs.