As part of southeast Saskatchewan’s move away from burning coal, Estevan is looking to a new partnership struck with a nearby First Nation and a veteran geologist to help keep jobs and money in the area.
The city has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ocean Man First Nation and Buffalo Potash Corporation to study how and if it can bring modular potash mines to the area and a processing facility that wouldn’t burn coal, but would still use it to create fuel.
Ocean Man sits about 100 kilometres north of Estevan. Buffalo Potash Corp., founded in 2018, is headed by long-time geology consultant and potash expert Stephen (Steve) Halabura; some of his past work includes pinpointing underground potash reserves in the province and helping BHP Billiton set up its mining sites.
Estevan’s nearby Shand Power Station, built in 1992, burns coal to produce approximately 276 megawatts of electricity. The federal government has ordered all coal-fired power plants in the country to be shut down by 2030.
As Halabura explains it, the intent of the new facility would be polygeneration — “using one or two or three raw components.
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