LATEST VIDEOS FROM CTV REGINA
K+S opens Bethune potash mine
Published Tuesday, May 2, 2017 10:42AM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, May 2, 2017 6:25PM CST
Saskatchewan's first potash mine in over 40 years celebrated its grand opening Tuesday.
The K+S Bethune Potash mine will be used to process raw potash from the ground and get it ready for market. The mine will create 400 permanent jobs.
“There's lots of room for optimism in terms of the long-term future of this sector because it's about fertilizer and food,” said Premier Brad Wall. “Saskatchewan's obviously a strategic player in the potash area and the fertilizer area, and will be even more so now because of K+S.”
The mine is the largest and most expensive in German fertilizer company K+S's history, costing more than $4-billion Cdn.
“This is a province with potash resource, but that's not the only aspect that makes mining here so attractive,” said Ulrich Lamp, CEO of K+S Potash Canada. “Like the living skies, the people of Saskatchewan have an openness that's one of a kind.”
K+S also partnered with CP Rail and Pacific Coast Terminals to ensure the final product reaches the coast effectively.
But, the project hasn't come without challenges. Since K+S broke ground in 2012, U.S. potash prices have decreased by around 50 per cent.
“To tell you the truth, we made the investment decision at a time when prices were significantly higher. But when you are on the road to build such a big plant, you are well advised that you continue building the plant until it's finished,” said K+S AG CEO Norbert Steiner.
The mine is expected to produce its first marketable tonne of potash by the end of June. That product will be transported by freight train to Vancouver before being shipped internationally. K+S expects to reach production capacity of two million tons by the end of 2017.