It’s been a good week for potash mining in Saskatchewan.
Just one day after K+S celebrated the opening of a multi-billion dollar potash mine near Bethune, Mosaic celebrated a milestone in Esterhazy.
The Mosaic Company has been working on its own multi-billion dollar K3 potash project, working to complete two production shafts. Those shafts reached potash – at 3,350 feet below the surface – in February 2017.
It is the first new mine shaft in Saskatchewan in 50 years.
On Wednesday, Mosaic senior leadership, dignitaries, local stakeholders and employees came together to celebrate the milestone with tours of the K3 surface and underground operations.
“We were really looking about building the underground infrastructure first, then in 2012, we expanded the scope of the project to also include all the conveyors and surface infrastructure that allows it to be a fully functional very large operation mine,” Mosaic CEO and president Joc O’Rourke explained. “If you take into account all the investment it represents probably close to $3 billion.”
The K3 mine shaft is a complement to the existing K1 and K2 shafts but it marks a turning point for Mosaic as the project moves from vertical shaft sinking to horizontal mine development.
K3 will be partially operational next year and fully running by 2024, eventually replacing K1 and K2 as their lifespan reaches its end.
And despite the up and down nature of the potash market and revenues in recent year, the company believes the future is bright.
“There is a lot of potash in Saskatchewan, this will be an industry in Saskatchewan for hundreds of years,” O’Rourke said.
Miners go down in the man bucket at K3 Mine pic.twitter.com/g42oZScwXY
— Kevin Martel (@KevinMartel) May 3, 2017