Milestone project set for selective solution mining

Western Potash Corp recently announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Milestone Potash Corp (MPC) has received the final engineering report on the proposed Milestone Pilot Plant Project.  The report was compiled by Amec Foster Wheeler which was responsible for all site surface facilities, Agapito Associates Inc which was responsible for mining, and Milestone Potash Corp which was responsible for off-site utilities, permitting and engagement. The co-ordination of all project interfaces was managed by Amec Foster Wheeler.

As reported in an April 21, 2016 news release by the company, the purpose of the report is to develop a full scope of engineering and procurement services as well as a Class 3 (+/-10%) Capital Cost Estimate and Operating Cost estimate in advance of Western’s construction decision for the Pilot Project. Engineering deliverables include process flow diagrams, site plans, specifications, data sheets and detailed drawings, all of which have been developed to the point of allowing issuance of purchase orders for equipment and contracts.

The pilot plant was designed to have an annual production capacity of 146,000 t of potash obtained through horizontal mining of the Prairie Evaporites. The solution mining plan is based on the concept of ‘selective solution mining’ where the solvent is near-saturated with sodium chloride and partially saturated with potassium chloride.  Among the advantages of the selective solution mining method are a lower CAPEX and OPEX compared to conventional solution mining. In addition, the selective solution mining technique has a lower environmental impact, consumes less water than conventional solution mining and does not produce salt tailings. Results of the Pilot Project will be used to determine the feasibility of construction and operation of a larger scale selective solution mining operation.

Geoffrey Chang, Chairman of the company stated, “we are pleased to have completed all the engineering, which shows the technological and economic feasibility of applying innovative horizontal drilling methodology,  selective solution mining and crystallisation pond techniques. We are very excited about the prospect of bringing this revolutionary new solution mining technology to Saskatchewan.”