Category Archives: potash
K+S Bethune mine in Canada churns out first tonnes of potash
Bethune mine during construction. (Image courtesy of K+S)
K+S Potash Canada, a subsidiary of German giant K+S Group, announced Monday it had produced the first tonnes of marketable potash in its new Bethune mine over the weekend.
The mine, located in Canada’s potash-rich Saskatchewan province, began operations last monthand it’s expected to produce 2 million tonnes per year once at full capacity, which is expected to be achieved by the end of the year.
Bethune is expected to produce 600,000 to 700,000 tonnes of potash this year and 2 million tonnes per year once at full capacity.
K+S said it intends to produce 600,000 to 700,000 tonnes of potash in the Bethune mine, built in partnership with Amec Foster Wheeler, this year.
The first potash shipment from the mine to the new harbour terminal at Vancouver should leave during August, the firm noted. From there the potash will be shipped to clients around the world.
With an investment of around $3.4 billion (3.1 billion euros), the Bethune mine is the largest single project for K+S, the world’s fifth-largest global potash seller.
Since K+S broke ground on the project, more than five years ago, potash prices have fallen roughly in half, to around $230 a tonne, due to a global oversupply that has prompted layoffs, mine closures and reduced capacity across the sector.
Saskatchewan is home to 50% of the world’s known potash reserves.
K+S Potash, Ducks Unlimited in $2.8 million project to protect wetland in Saskatchewan
June 5, 2017
Regina, Sask. – K+S Potash Canada (KSPC) has committed over $2.8 million in funding for wetland conservation through an agreement with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) to ensure wetlands affected by the Bethune mine are offset through the restoration and preservation of wetlands across Saskatchewan. The agreement, based on a unique science-based formula developed by Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Environment in collaboration with DUC and KSPC, is the largest-known wetland industry offset in Saskatchewan’s history.
“Wetlands are one of the most important eco-systems on the planet and provide critical habitat for migratory birds including waterfowl,” explains Trevor Plews, Head of Conservation Programs for DUC in Saskatchewan. “Wetlands have been in decline for many years and because Saskatchewan is in the heart of waterfowl breeding habitat in North America, this offset agreement goes a long way to help mitigate habitat loss in this very important region.”
KSPC’s offset agreement is the largest mitigation payment DUC has ever received in Saskatchewan and will enable DUC to invest in areas that provide the greatest conservation value possible. Direct and indirect impact on 199 acres of wetlands near the Bethune mine site will be offset by restoring 361 acres of wetlands in DUC’s target landscapes in Saskatchewan.
Eric Cline, Vice President of Land and Sustainable Development for KSPC, says the agreement satisfies the ministry’s condition for approval of KSPC’s Environmental Impact Statement and does so through a credible third party. “It’s of benefit to have Ducks Unlimited Canada facilitate this agreement because their interest is to maximize the amount of quality wetlands in Saskatchewan,” says Cline. “This partnership with DUC is valuable to our company not only because it ensures the offset meets our commitment to the ministry, but also because it assures the public that the conservation plan is being implemented in a scientific way.”
While this landmark initiative demonstrates the power of collaboration and responsible environmental management in the province, the ministry hopes that other industry players will benefit from this large-scale “test case” of their formula-based approach.
“The lessons learned from this experience will help us further improve and develop this promising approach,” said Brant Kirychuk, Executive Director of the ministry’s Fish, Wildlife and Lands Branch. “I would like to congratulate and thank K+S Potash Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada for being leaders and innovators in our quest for responsible development.”
This historic announcement corresponds with this year’s World Environment Day which is themed “Connecting People to Nature,” a call to action for people to protect the Earth that we share. “Protecting the Earth is everyone’s responsibility,” says Michael Champion, Head of Industry and Government Relations at DUC, “and we want to recognize the efforts of KSPC in doing their part as a good corporate citizen.”
About K+S Potash Canada GP
K+S Potash Canada GP (KSPC) is a K+S Group company with headquarters in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; a solution potash mine and production facility located near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; and a world-class potash handling and storage facility operated in partnership with Pacific Coast Terminals in Port Moody, British Columbia. Bethune mine, formerly known as the Legacy Project, is the first new potash mine in Saskatchewan in nearly fifty years. KSPC celebrated the Grand Opening of Bethune in May 2017 and expects to reach a production capacity of 2 million tonnes by the end of 2017. The Bethune mine has created new job opportunities for Saskatchewan workers and new business opportunities for Saskatchewan companies supplying goods and services to this major economic development. All sales and distribution of the potash produced at the Bethune mine will be carried out through the K+S Group’s experienced and well-established global distribution structures.
About Ducks Unlimited Canada
Ducks Unlimited Canada is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment.
BHP to grow potash business to size of iron ore — report
June 5, 2017
BHP expects to complete the first phase for its massive Jansen potash mine by 2023.(Image courtesy of BHP)
BHP (ASX, NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT), the world’s largest mining company by market capitalization, is considering to grow its potash business to the size of its iron ore division, but only under “certain circumstances.”
Speaking to Japanese newspaper The Nikkei, chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said that as part of the company’s recently announced restructuring, BHP expects to reinvest what it gets for its US shale gas assets into potash.
BHP is currently developing its Jansen potash mine in Canada, which would be the company’s biggest single investment ever.
The results of this strategy, however, won’t be immediate, he warned: “It’s taken us 50 years to create today’s iron ore business. It will be another 50 years to create a potash equivalent. So you have to start somewhere,” Mackenzie said.
And that starting place seems to be Canada’s Saskatchewan province, where the world’s third largest iron miner is currently building its massive Jansen potash mine.
To date, BHP has committed a total investment of $3.8 billion to move Jansen into production. From that total, $2.6 billion have been set aside for surface construction and the sinking of shafts, though analysts predict the total cost will be close to $14 billion.
Mackenzie said last month it was looking at a phased expansion of Jansen, which is projected to produce 8 million tonnes of potash a year or nearly 15% of the world’s total.
He added the company could seek approval from the board for such expansion as early as June 2018, with production beginning in 2023.
Prices for the crop fertilizer ingredient, however, are not favourable — they are still hovering around $230 a tonne, less than half what they were only five years ago.
Besides, BHP’s iron ore business brings in about $9 billion a year, which doesn’t look like an easy target to match by any other division, particularly by potash, given current prices.
But the company is looking long-term and has repeatedly stated it believes rising demand for fertilizer in growing nations, particularly China and India, will lead to a long-term price increase for the commodity.
Sask. mining rescue crews showcase emergency response skills
By Rebekah Lesko
June 4, 2017
Mining rescue crews from across the province showcased their skills at the Saskatchewan Mine Rescue Skills Competition.
Mining crews from across Saskatchewan came to Saskatoon to show off their emergency response skills.
Teams from potash, coal, uranium and gold mines showcased their rescue skills in simulated scenarios.
If anyone knows how important emergency response training is, it’s Rod Greve.
Greve worked at the Lanigan potash mine for over 40 years and said they are there to help their fellow miners should the need ever arise.
“They want someone to be trained. It’s a highly dedicated group of people from all the mines that get together here,” said GREVE, who is a judge at the 49th annual Saskatchewan Mine Rescue Skills Competition.
“This training improves our community, our teams, our co-workers, everyone benefits from it.”
From fire, to first aid, the competition tests miner’s skills for future emergencies, skills that are even more important in remote regions.
“We need to have to have our own emergency response teams available because resources aren’t available like medical aid or ambulances and fire trucks, we don’t have the communities right next to us,” Camille Pouteaux, a Cameco Key Lake team member, said.
“Having the ability to offer rescue services at the sites are very important.”
Most potash shipped through Thunder Bay in a decade
134,000 tonnes of potash passed through the small St. Lawrence River port, the most since April 2007
June 6, 2017
Port of Thunder Bay, Ontario, courtesy of the port authority.
The potash market may be sputtering along with prices over half they were five years ago, but that isn’t stopping a large volume of the fertilizer ingredient to be shipped through Thunder Bay, Ontario.
While the majority of Canadian potash marketed and sold through Canpotex – the world’s largest potash exporter – is moved through Neptune Bulk Terminals in Vancouver (and also Portland, OR) a smaller amount is shipped via bulk carriers through Thunder Bay, a port on the St. Lawrence Seaway.
A report this week notes that Thunder Bay saw its largest monthly shipment of potash in May since April 2007.
Grain shipments were also up in May by 100,000 tonnes, driven mainly by record levels of canola. Overall cargo shipments at the port are up 20% compared to the same time last year, to 1,169,998 metric tonnes.
Those numbers are only likely to improve with one major potash mine in Saskatchewan recently opened and another possibly on its way.
On May 2 K+S Potash Canada, a subsidiary of German giant K+S Group, officially opened its Legacy project, the first potash mine built in the province in more than 40 years.
The operation, henceforth known as Bethune, is expected to produce 2 million tonnes per year once at full capacity; first potash is anticipated at the end of this month.
Meanwhile the world’s largest mining company, BHP (ASX, NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT), has so far committed $3.8 billion to move its new Saskatchewan potash mine, Jansen, into production. From that total, $2.6 billion has been set aside for surface construction and the sinking of shafts, though analysts predict the total cost will be close to $14 billion.
Speaking at the Bank of Merrill Lynch mining conference in Barcelona, Spain, chief executive Andrew Mackenzie confirmed the company’s commitment to the crop nutrient by announcing that the mine’s first phase will be completed by 2023.
Top Miner Sees ‘Huge Demand’ Boost from China’s New Silk Road
by David Stringer
May 31, 2017, 9:43 PM CST June 1, 2017, 12:31 AM CST
- Projects to add about 150 million tons of steel demand: BHP
- Producer says has lifted force majeure on Escondida copper
Read about Belt Road Project HERE
China’s multi-billion dollarBelt and Road Initiative can deliver a major boost for commodities and will add about 150 million tons to global steel demand, according to BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest miner.
The plan to develop infrastructure and rebuild ancient trading routes from China to Europe overland and by sea has seen projects initiated worth about $1.3 trillion, according to Melbourne-based BHP, the biggest exporter of coking coal and the third-largest iron ore supplier. Investments worth $313 billion to $502 billion could be funneled to 62 Belt-Road countries over the next five years, Credit Suisse Group AG said last month.
“Everywhere where we see the infrastructure being built, on the back of that there will be economic development that will trigger copper demand, which will trigger energy demand,” BHP’s Chief Commercial Officer Arnoud Balhuizen told reporters Thursday in Melbourne. “Steel produced in China will be used along the road, and that of course is good for demand for our commodities.”
BHP on Thursday lifted force majeure restrictions at Chile’s Escondida copper mine, where workers carried out a 44-day strike earlier this year, Balhuizen told reporters. Coking coal sales continue to be subject to restrictions following a cyclone in Australia in March, he said.
The producer declined 0.7 percent to A$23.73 on Thursday in Sydney, extending its decline this year to 5.3 percent.
The “One Belt One Road” initiative promises “huge demand for resources, services and technology,” and is “an opportunity like no other,” Balhuizen said earlier in a speech. BHP gets about 43 percent of full-year revenue from China and a total of at least 68 percent from Asia, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
China’s plan, lauded by President Xi Jinping as a “project of the century,” has the potential to generate about 120 million tons of crude steel demand, according to Citigroup Inc. Increased appetite from infrastructure will support steel even as there’s a slowdown in China’s housing sector, Templeton Emerging Markets Group Executive Chairman Mark Mobius said last month in an interview.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans for rural electrification, which aim to supply power to every citizen by 2019, and the drive to provide more affordable housing, will also boost commodities and are likely to “have a material impact on demand for coal, iron ore, copper and petroleum,” Balhuizen said in his speech.
BHP sees global demand for potash growing at 2 percent to 3 percent a year through 2030, as the world’s population rises and crop demand swells by 50 percent by 2050, he said. BHP may seek board approval for its Jansen potash project in Canada as early as next June, the producer said last month.
Saskatchewan Mining Week Promotes Innovation, Adaptation
Released on May 29, 2017
The impact and contributions of the province’s mining industry will be the focus of Saskatchewan Mining Week, which was officially proclaimed today at the Legislature Building in Regina.
Organized by the Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA) to promote awareness of the people and activities that comprise the industry, the overall theme of this year’s week is “Mining in Transformational Times”.
“This year’s theme speaks to the resiliency and innovative spirit that defines the qualities of Saskatchewan’s dynamic mining sector,” Energy and Resources Minister Dustin Duncan said. “Part of our job in government is to do our best to enable businesses to invest in our province, helping to create sustainable jobs and grow our economy.
“SMA member companies have made multibillion dollar investments in Saskatchewan over the past decade,” Saskatchewan Mining Association Chair Jessica Theriault said. “And because of these investments, mining remains a key pillar of Saskatchewan’s economy in these transformational times.”
Saskatchewan is the largest potash producer in the world, possessing almost half of the world’s potash reserves, and is the world’s second largest primary uranium producer, with a catalogue of other minerals such as gold, base metals, clays, coal and diamonds.
Saskatchewan ended 2016 with a total value of all mineral sales of $6.4 billion, and led all provinces in mining capital expenditures, according to Natural Resources Canada. Among the events scheduled during Mining Week will be the 49th Annual Emergency Response/Mine Rescue Skills Competition to be held at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon on Saturday, June 3.
For a complete schedule and further information, please visit www.saskmining.ca.
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NEWS RELEASE 17-96
Western Provinces to Lead Economic Growth In 2017
Ottawa, May 29, 2017—Alberta and Saskatchewan are expected to emerge out of recession and lead the provinces in economic growth this year, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s Provincial Outlook: Spring 2017. British Columbia is forecast to see growth ease this year, but the province will still tie with Saskatchewan for second place.
“The difficulties in the resources sector are slowly dissipating and helping Alberta and Saskatchewan emerge out of recession. However, the turnaround is still in its early stages and a full recovery will take time,” said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director, Provincial Forecast, The Conference Board of Canada. “Economic prospects are also improving across the country, but continued weakness in business investment—both in and out of the resources sector—could hurt economic growth in all provinces down the road.”
- Alberta will have the fastest growing provincial economy this year, with real GDP forecast to increase by 3.3 per cent.
- Saskatchewan and British Columbia’s economy will tie for second place, both expected to grow at 2.5 per cent this year.
- With the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador, all provinces will see their economy expand this year.
Following two years of contractions, Alberta’s economy is expected to outperform all provinces and grow by 3.3 per cent this year. Non-conventional oil production in the province will see a big increase this year thanks to new capacity coming online, while energy investment is expected to make a comeback this year and next. Outside of the energy sector, Alberta is benefiting from improvements in labour markets, consumer demand, and the housing sector. A bright outlook for the province’s manufacturing sector as a result of the new Sturgeon refinery, along with the rebuilding efforts in Fort McMurray, will also contribute to Alberta’s strong economic growth this year.
Saskatchewan’s economy is on a more solid foundation than it was one year ago. The energy outlook is more positive as drilling bounced back last winter and oil production is expected to increase at a good pace over the near term. As well, adaptation to the low-oil-price environment has led to growing investment into cost-effective thermal extraction technology, which will provide a significant boost to construction over the next three years. The province’s labour markets are also starting to turn around, boosting growth in household spending. In all, Saskatchewan’s economy is forecast to grow by 2.5 per cent in 2017.
After growing by 3.7 per cent in 2016, real GDP growth in British Columbia is expected to reach 2.5 per cent in 2017. British Columbia’s housing market has lost some steam, but has proven to be more resilient to cooling measures. Still, the slowdown in housing activity will be felt in other parts of the provincial economy. Employment, wages, and household spending are all expected to see growth ease. The province’s forestry industry will also struggle over the near term as it deals with the duties on Canadian softwood lumber.
Ontario’s economy will continue to perform well, but it is forecast to lose some speed and grow by 2.3 per cent in 2017. Consumer finances are stretched and the hot housing market in southern Ontario is expected to cool as the new measures to re-balance the market take place. Exports have been growing at a stronger pace than the national average, but the lack of business investment will limit growth prospects going forward.
Manitoba’s economy is forecast to expand by a solid 2.1 per cent in 2017, slightly lower than last year’s growth. The province will continue to see strong construction activity as investment in the Keeyask dam ramps up and work continues on the Bipole III transmission line. Manufacturing will remain a growth driver for the province, with bright spots in transportation, equipment manufacturing and food processing.
Quebec saw an improvement in economic growth last year and this will continue in 2017, with real GDP forecast to advance by 1.8 per cent this year. Consumer spending will continue to be one of the pillars of growth for the province, as tax cuts and strong job creation leave Quebeckers with more spending money in 2017. This, in turn, will provide a boost to the province’s services-based industries. However, the probability that greater protectionist measures will be put in place in the U.S. in the coming years presents a significant downside risk to the province’s export outlook.
The Atlantic provinces will see only modest expansion over the next two years as they deal with an aging population that is limiting growth in labour supply.
Newfoundland and Labrador will be only province in recession this year, contracting by 3.0 per cent. However, the province will benefit from oil production at the Hebron project starting next year and real GDP is forecast to bounce back strongly.
Nova Scotia’s outlook is among the weakest in Canada, forecast to advance by only 0.5 per cent this year. Although ongoing shipbuilding work in Halifax is providing a boost to the manufacturing sector, the province’s construction industry is facing declines over the next two years as major projects are completed and there are few major investments on the horizon.
Despite New Brunswick’s goods-producing sector facing better prospects over the next two years, weak business investment and shifting demographics will limit GDP growth to 1.0 per cent this year.
Prince Edward Island has the best growth prospects among the Atlantic provinces, with real GDP forecast to expand by 1.8 per cent in 2017. The Island’s economy is being bolstered by tourism as well as by a strong performance in the manufacturing sector, especially in the food products and in aerospace services.
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Jessica Theriault elected first woman to head Sask. Mining Association
ALEX MACPHERSON, SASKATOON STARPHOENIX
Published on: May 26, 2017 | Last Updated: May 26, 2017 3:19 PM CST
The headframe at Mosaic Co.’s newly-expanded K3 mine near Esterhazy. TROY FLEECE / REGINA LEADER-POST
The association representing Saskatchewan’s potash and uranium miners has for the first time in its 52-year history elected a woman as its chair.
Members of the Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA) elected Mosaic Co. environmental affairs director Jessica Theriault for a two-year term, the organization said in a news release.
Theriault replaces Cameco Corp. chairman Neil McMillan and will serve alongside Tammy Van Lambalgen, Areva Resources Canada Inc. vice president of corporate affairs.
“Given the importance of mining to the Saskatchewan and Canadian economies … my focus as Chair will be to ensure that we continue to deliver, but also drive improvements across the sector,” Theriault said in a statement.
The SMA said in a news release that the election of Theriault and Van Lambalgen “represents a significant milestone in signalling the growing leadership role of women in mining.”
While gender imbalance in the province’s mining industry remains significant, groups like the SMA and Women in Mining and Women in Nuclear Saskatchewan are working to change that.
Theriault, who holds an engineering degree and MBA from the University of Regina, has almost two decades of experience in the potash industry and oversees Mosaic’s potash business unit.
BHP talks up Saskatchewan potash project
- The Australian
- 12:00AM May 23, 2017
- MATT CHAMBERS
Andrew Mackenzie envisages an initial stage of 4 million tonnes of potash a year. Picture: Aaron Francis
BHP’s board could have the most expensive single development approval decision in the miner’s history in front of it next financial year, in the form of a $US4.7 billion ($6.3bn) investment in the Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan.
Lost in the ramp-up of activist fund Elliott Management’s hostilities last week was the revelation that the miner is nearly ready to give approval to the first production stage of the Jansen project, where it has approved $US3.8bn to sink 1km-deep shafts to get to the big potash deposit.
The enthusiastic BHP mood around potash will create trepidation among some investors that the Elliott push to create value through an oil and gas restructure and share unification is accelerating potash development, while Canadian analysts have queried whether the global potash market can support it.
But if it does go ahead, and BHP is right in thinking the market can support production from the world’s best undeveloped potash deposit, it will be the foundation of a new Saskatoon-based BHP business unit with the potential for four other mines the same size as the huge Jansen.
“We are looking at a phased expansion into Jansen, with an initial stage of 4 million tonnes per annum, which will generate competitive returns,” BHP chief Andrew Mackenzie said last week at a presentation to a Barcelona conference on the same day Elliott stepped up its campaign to get more value from BHP.
“It could be something that we seek board approval of as early as June next year, with possible first production in 2023.”
The biggest single project investment decision approved by the BHP board during the boom — outside of acquisitions such as the $US15.1bn takeover of US shale company PetroHawk — was the iron ore Rapid Growth Project 5, in the Pilbara. BHP’s share of this was $US4.8bn, but $US930m had already been spent before it was approved, meaning the future outlay the board ticked off on was $US3.9bn.
On its shale ground, BHP has spent more than $US16bn but it has never been announced as a major board decision. And had the boom not abruptly ended in 2012, Jansen would have paled in comparison to BHP’s original plans for a $US30bn expansion of Olympic Dam or a $US20bn Outer Harbour expansion of Port Hedland, meaning the board has considered bigger projects.
BHP is betting that growing demand for higher-quality food at the same time the availability of farming land shrinks will bring growth in global potash demand of 2-3 per cent. The market is oversupplied but the growth rates are similar to the long-term view of Potash Corp, the US producer the Saskatchewan government stopped BHP buying in a $US30bn takeover attempt in 2010. Potash is a crop nutrient.
And BHP says the supply side dynamics are also on side.
“There are a limited number of players able to bring on additional capacity,” BHP said in potash presentation slides this month.
In Canada, Bank of Montreal analyst Joel Jackson wrote that he thought the market would struggle to absorb four new potash mines starting this year and next, let alone more production from Jansen, Reuters reported after Mr Mackenzie’s speech.
Mr Mackenzie said the project would be approved only “when the time is right” and that it would be measured against other uses of capital, including cash returns.
The first Jansen stage, not including the $US3.8bn already spent, would have an internal rate of return of 12 per cent. The next stages, which could bring Jansen to 10 million tonnes a year, would be in the high teens.
The slides say BHP’s potash ground in Saskatchewan, the world’s biggest and highest-quality potash basin, could yield 60 million tonnes of potash a year for more than 100 years.