BETHUNE, - Shovels hit the dirt when a German fertilizer company held a groundbreaking ceremony in Saskatchewan, but it’s what lies 1,500 metres below the surface that has drawn K+S Group to the province.
K+S officially broke ground Tuesday on the first new potash mine in Saskatchewan in nearly 40 years.
The C$3.25-billion Legacy mine project is near Bethune, about 60 kilometres northwest of Regina.
“People are watching very much what we are doing because we want to build a greenfield mine,” said K+S chairman Norbert Steiner.
“Our time frame is very tight as we want to have the first production available in the year 2015, maybe in the second half, not much, but we should start with that and then ramp it up 2017 to two million tonnes. And then the secondary mining phase will come along with more.”
Under skies that threatened rain, company officials and politicians were escorted around the future mine site.
K+S will use a solution process to remove minerals from under the rolling green fields that cover most of the land. Solution mining involves dissolving underground water-soluble minerals with water, which is then extracted from the ground and the minerals recovered from it.
Saskatchewan has the world’s largest deposits of potash, a mineral mainly used in fertilizer, and Steiner said the resource will help feed the world for generations to come.
“This is why we are investing a massive amount of effort, energy and capital into this project,” he said.
“We believe that the Legacy project is an investment in the future of our company, an investment in the people of Saskatchewan and an investment in a sustainable future.”
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