Hot mining recirculates heated saturated brine from the crystallisation pond into the caverns, and preferentially extracts the dissolved potash (KCl) in the cavern which returns to the crystallisation pond, while leaving the salt (NaCl) in place underground. Hot mining demonstrates the enhanced horizontal solution mining process while building an inventory of potash in the crystallisation pond. By design, each cavern will be producing about 4000 t of KCl per month into the crystal pond. The horizontal selective solution mining is environmentally friendly and capital efficient, while also greatly shortening the time to production compared to traditional mining. This will be the first greenfield potash mine in Canada that will leave no salt tailings on the surface, thereby significantly reducing water and energy consumption.
The process plant is expected to be completed and ready to harvest the inventory of potash in the pond by the end of 2020. Once finished the plant will de-brine, dry and compact the potash and truck to the local Port Lajord fertilizer distribution centre where Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has signed a binding off-take agreement with Western to sell the 100% of the offtake.
Appropriate operating permits were obtained as part of the on-going permitting process, and the company 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 start of hot mining is a significant milestone for the project construction, it demonstrates the viability of the new technology, and will bring about significant economic values to investors and shareholders. This technology will disrupt the solution mining potash industry.
I would like to thank everyone involved in the successful construction and startup of hot mining, including the Western team, a number of sub-contractors, vendors and local businesses and government who continued to give their best despite having to deal with the evolving pandemic and the challenges it presented.”
Read the article online at: https://www.worldfertilizer.com/project-news/01052020/milestone-phase-1-potash-project-starts-hot-mining/