K+S opens new potash mine; first new mine in Saskatchewan in more than 40 years – by Jennifer Graham (Saskatoon Star Phoenix – May 2, 2017)


BETHUNE, Sask. — The first tonne of marketable potash is expected to be produced at the end of June from the first new mine in Saskatchewan in more than 40 years. After five years of construction, German fertilizer company K+S AG is opening the new mine near the village of Bethune, about 70 kilometres north of Regina.

“To tell you the truth, we made the investment decision at a time when prices were significantly higher,” Norbert Steiner, the CEO of K+S AG, said Tuesday at the opening ceremony. “But when you are on the road to build such a big plant, you are well advised that you continue the building of the plant until it is finished,” Norbert said.

“But still, we are of the opinion that the cost that we will have for the production of our products here in Saskatchewan will be significantly lower compared to the prices that we have right now in the industry and, therefore, we foresee that we have a positive (earnings before interest, taxes and amortization) already in 2018 and of course the better years will come afterwards.”

The company said it expects to achieve its desired production capacity of two million tonnes by the end of this year. The Bethune mine, which is a solution mine, is the largest single project in the history of K+S.

Solution mining is the process of mining underground water-soluble minerals by dissolving the minerals with water. The water-mineral solution is then extracted from bore holes that go about 1.5 kilometres underground and the minerals are recovered from it.

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