K+S making progress on Bethune potash mine – by Bruce Johnstone (Regina Leader-Post – May 19, 2015)

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Province’s first in 40 years

The $4.1-billion Legacy solution potash mine being built by K+S Potash Canada on the edge of the Qu’Appelle Valley near Bethune, about 75 km northwest of Regina, is still on track and on budget to meet its goal of producing potash by the end of next year.

“Everything’s according to plan,’ said Sam Farris, vice-president and general manager of operations for K+S’s Legacy project – the first new potash mine in Saskatchewan in 40 years. “It’s an aggressive plan, but we’re managing to hold to the plan.’

K+S Group, the parent company of K+S Potash Canada, which issued its firstquarter results last Tuesday, announced that “K+S is well on the way to commissioning the plant as scheduled from summer 2016 onward and producing the first tonnes of potash fertilizers towards the end of the year, thus meeting the investment budget of $4.1 billion.”

K+S Group, which is Europe’s biggest potash producer, said its total capital budget for 2015 was 1.3 billion euros, or just under $1.8 billion Cdn. “Expenditure connected with the Legacy project accounts for most of this figure,’ the Kassel, Germany-based company said. Farris said much of the work to date on the Legacy project has been underground, such as the development of caverns to supply the potash-rich brine to the plant for processing.

In March, K+S started injecting water into the production wells for the first time. This early cavern development (ECD) will result in the creation of about 55 caverns by the end of next year, which will enable K+S to ramp up production to two million tonnes per year by 2017.

“The ECD milestone is another indication of the tremendous progress we have achieved since acquiring Legacy in 2011,” Ulrich Lamp, president and CEO of K+S Potash Canada, said in a press release in March.

(K+S acquired the Legacy project from Potash One, a junior mining company based in Vancouver, for $434 million in March 2011 and announced plans to develop a $3.2-billion solution mine on site in September 2011.

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