Vale Potash’s proposed $3.5-billion solution potash mine at Kronau is being put on hold as the Brazilian mining giant waits for market conditions in the potash industry to improve, says a spokesman for Vale Potash in Regina.
The company announced the decision to suspend work on the mine in a public letter to the community of Kronau, 28 km southeast of Regina, and the surrounding rural municipality. Vale says the recent feasibility study still shows a compelling case for a mine in Kronau someday, but market conditions make it difficult to finance the project right now.
“Give the global economic conditions, I don’t think it’s a big surprise,” said Matthew Wood, senior project leader for Vale Potash, in an interview Thursday. “We’ve completed the feasibility stage and study of the project. All the results are very promising. We still see it as a very strategic and very important project, but we won’t proceeding with construction next year.”
The miner currently operates with a team of about 30 people in Saskatchewan, mainly in its Regina office. Wood said Vale Potash will continue to have a presence in Saskatchewan but on a a smaller scale to maintain the land holdings along with government and community relations.
“Because … we’re not pushing forward with either engineering or construction, we are evaluating our current staffing and looking for opportunities, both within the group and around the country, for people. There will be a certain downsizing while we focus on land, minerals and environment and not so much on the engineering,” Wood said.
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