The drilling included three directionally drilled production wells, which were then connected to injection wells. Advanced horizontal drilling techniques were used to target the high-grade potash bed, and measurements confirmed the consistency along the entire length of the horizontal wells. After casing and tubing was placed, water from the crystallisation pond was successfully circulated into the injection well and back out the production well in all three caverns.
Pumping will be ongoing to enlarge the caverns and saturate the brine with salt in preparation for the start of hot mining in early 2020. Hot mining will recirculate brine into the caverns and preferentially extract the KCl (leaving the NaCl in place underground), building an inventory of potash in the crystallisation pond over the winter.
By 3Q20 the process plant will be constructed and ready to harvest the inventory of potash in the pond. The plant will then de-brine, dry and compact the potash and truck to the local Port Lajord fertilizer distribution centre for sale via Archer Daniel Midlands (ADM), who has signed a binding off-take for the entire Phase I production. Appropriate operating permits were obtained as part of the on-going permitting process, and the project continues to work in close conjunction with the RM of Lajord, Provincial Government, the local community and businesses.
Fritz Venter, President and CEO of Western Potash Corp., commented: “The entire drilling programme was completed safely on schedule and budget, and we are very excited about the possibilities this new method of solution mining potash provides in the province. We would like to thank our own team and the over 30 Saskatchewan and Alberta companies that have been involved in the project, including Artisan Consulting Services Ltd. who provided overall drilling supervision and Akita Drilling who provided the drill rig and crew to operate the rig.”
Read the article online at: https://www.worldfertilizer.com/potash/28102019/western-potash-begins-horizontal-solution-drilling/