SEI selected for power protection and control systems at K+S Legacy Project potash mine

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) has announced that K+S Potash Canada has selected its relays and communications products to protect and control a new potash mine now under construction in Saskatchewan. The new $3.7 billion Legacy Project is the first solution potash mine to be built in Saskatchewan in nearly 40 years. Commissioning of the Legacy Project potash mine, near Moose Jaw, is targeted for 2016, with a total of 36 production caverns. Solution mining necessitates the drilling of two boreholes, one of which is used to inject solutions to dissolve the crude salt from the deposits, which gathers in underground caverns. The liquid introduced into the caverns displaces the generated brine, which is then transported to the surface by another pipeline.

SEL equipment is not new to the worldofpotash mining. The company has been providing protectionand control solutions to this industry in Canada since 2005, “helping to ensure the safe, reliable delivery of electric power in the industry.” After almost ten years of success in Saskatchewan potash mines, the Legacy Project is taking SEL equipment one step further by introducing IEC 61850 communication for complete electrical distribution system control, monitoring, and integration. Today, SEL equipment is installed in nine of the ten major potash mines across Saskatchewan. With SEL relays and fault indicators providing protection in some of the harshest mining applications, such as the mobile underground substations called sleds, “the choice to apply SEL products exclusively was easy for the designers of the K+S Legacy Project” says the company.

In 2013, as part of a different project, Mark Payton, senior specialist for SEL Engineering Services, visited a mine in Saskatchewan. That project included upgrading manyof the mine’s sleds with SEL relays. “Each sled had a breaker, a transformer, and two SEL-751A Feeder Protection Relays – one primary and one secondary,” Payton said. “There are two types of sleds: miner sleds power the mining equipment, and drive sleds, power pumps, fans, lighting, and everything else in the mine.” SEL relays are designed to trip a circuit breaker when a fault is detected or when too much electricity could damage the system or create an unsafe environment. The need for relays to act quickly, within a few thousandths of a second, is especially difficult in these environments, and also of the utmost importance in order to keep people safe in mines.