The CEO of Western Potash Corp., George Gao, has announced that environmental assessment approval for the Milestone Phase I project from Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment has been received.
Western Potash Corp. received a final engineering report from AMEC Foster Wheeler and Agapito Associates Inc. for the proposed Milestone Phase l plant project. The Phase l project was subject to review under the Environmental Assessment Act, which is regulated by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment.
The initial Phase l project design was based on a scoping study, and was approved by the Ministry in 2015. Following changes to the scoping study design, namely the introduction of a crystallisation pond for potash recovery and the plant site location, Western Potash resubmitted the project design for review by the Ministry. Subsequently, the Ministry has determined that no Environmental Impact Assessment for the Phase l project will be required. Therefore, Western Potash is authorised to proceed with the construction of the Phase l project subject to regulatory permitting requirements.
Bill Xue, President and CEO of Western Resources (the parent company of Western Potash Corp.), commented: “we are very pleased to have received environmental assessment approval from the Government of Saskatchewan to proceed with the Milestone Phase I project. We fully appreciate the co-operation that we have received from the Government of Saskatchewan and the local Rural Municipality as we continue to move the project towards construction and operation.”
Western Potash Corp. secured an off-take agreement with China BlueChemical Ltd. in October 2016, through which Western’s second largest shareholder guarantees the purchase of all the products from the Phase l project. Given the transportation costs and the low Chinese market price, Western Resources has been actively exploring the North American market and has achieved solid progress.
In the meantime, Western Potash Corp. continues to advance detailed engineering on the Phase l project in advancement of construction. The project will use selective solution mining techniques, which result in lower CAPEX and OPEX costs compared to conventional solution mining. Western Resources is actively working to close the gap of the project financing. With these tasks completed, the plant construction is anticipated to start in early 2018 with first potash production in 2020. As the Phase l project proves to be successful, a feasibility study of Phases II and III of the project with a respective expansion of 1.4 million tpy will follow.