Rocanville Expansion Creates World’s Largest Potash Mine

During the expansion, miners assemble six new four-rotor mining machines
PotashCorp has completed an expansion at its Rocanville potash mine in southeast Saskatchewan, more than doubling nameplate capacity from 3 million metric tons per year (mt/y) to 6.5 million mt/y and creating the world’s largest potash mine. The $3 billion project included the first new mine shaft built in Saskatchewan since 1979, a new mill, a new 500,000-mt storage facility, new rail and rail loadout equipment, and conversion of the existing service shaft, used for people and materials, to a second production shaft, for bringing ore out of the mine.

Other work completed during the expansion included assembly of six new four-rotor mining machines underground and a new hoist, skips, and motors for the converted shaft. Approximately 130 kilometers (km) of conveyor belts were installed underground.

The new Scissors Creek shaft reaches a depth of 1,119 m and passes through several water-bearing geological formations. The new mill has capacity to process 1,100 mt/h. Combined capacity of the new and the old mills is 2,400 mt/y. Approximately 300 km of electrical cable run through the newly expanded facility. The workforce has doubled to more than 750.

The standard and granular potash produced at Rocanville is used in fertilizer and agricultural products. Product is shipped via the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National railways to centers throughout North America and to ports for delivery offshore.

The expanded Rocanville mine was officially opened on October 12 during a celebratory event held in the office building at the new Scissors Creek site. The event was attended by more than 300 people, including local and provincial elected officials, suppliers, employees of the Rocanville operation, and several members of PotashCorp’s Board of Directors and senior leadership team.

“We are very proud of our employees for their accomplishments here at Rocanville — they were truly dedicated to working hard and working safely,” said PotashCorp President and CEO Jochen Tilk. “As a result, this mine is poised to be a key part of our company’s future for years to come. We are also grateful to our contractors for their significant contributions during this extensive project.

“By enhancing capacity at Rocanville, our lowest-cost operation, we have improved our competitive position and are ready to respond to the world’s increasing need for potash.”

As featured in Womp 2017 Vol 11 -