Western Resources’ wholly owned subsidiary, Western Potash Corp, has entered into a lump-sum agreement with Stuart Olson Prairie Construction to become the General Contractor for the Milestone Phase I potash project, in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Stuart Olson is one of the largest and most respected construction services companies in Canada, according to Western Resources. “Their unique approach to doing business, as well as extensive construction and industrial services proved a perfect partner for the project,” the company said, adding that the company will be drawing a large proportion of its trades from the local area.
Milestone Phase I will be the newest and most innovative, environmentally friendly and capital efficient new potash mine in Canada, according to the company. The plan is to produce 146,000 t/y of potash over a 12-year period.
Using advanced drilling techniques, the project intends to initially target the high-grade potash bed, with selective dissolution preferentially leaching the potash to the surface. “This means that any salt is left underground and there is no tailings pile at the surface, thereby reducing the water consumption by half,” Western Resources explained. The potash is then crystalised naturally in a pond due to the temperature change, resulting in much lower energy consumption and a capital cost proportionally less than other solution mines, according to the company.
The project has already completed the early work to prepare the site including an access road, site clearing and piling foundations, water well, water pipeline and power infrastructure. The civil work of the crystallisation pond has also been completed, with the site now ready for the start of full construction with Stuart Olson.
Stuart Olson’s General Contractor scope will include the construction of all above ground facilities, including concrete, steel and pipework, installation of equipment, electrical and control system work, building work and site finishing. Its team will mobilise to the project site in June, with an anticipated maximum workforce of around 100 people on site.
“With their heritage in Western Canada and diverse experience, they have the skills, experience and resources to complete the project safely on budget and schedule,” Western Potash said.
Bill Xue, Chairman of Western Potash, said: “The management and Board of Directors are very excited to partner with Stuart Olson to build this innovative and efficient new mine in Saskatchewan. The project will benefit from the strength and experience of Stuart Olson, and we look forward to the next milestone, the start of production in mid-2020.”