Dignitaries gathered this week in Bethune, Saskatchewan, to celebrate the opening of a new K+S potash mine in Canada. During the ceremony, the new mine was officially handed over to the operations team. The five-year construction phase has been successfully completed and the first ton of marketable potash is expected to be produced in June as planned.

“We’re delighted to welcome a very good corporate citizen, K+S, back to Saskatchewan as it begins operations at a mine that will create more than 400 permanent jobs and generate taxes and royalties for years to come,” the Honourable Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan said. “The Legacy project strengthens Saskatchewan’s position as the world’s leading potash producer and is another indicator the province’s diversified and resilient economy is weathering economic uncertainty. We’re thankful for an investment that creates jobs and opportunity in Saskatchewan.”

During the ceremony, the new potash mine, which ran under the project name Legacy, received its new name “Bethune.” K+S upheld the Saskatchewan potash mining tradition of naming its facility after the closest neighboring town.

“With our new location, we are making a huge step forward in the internationalization of our potash business,” said Norbert Steiner, chairman, K+S AG. “Bethune enables us to participate in future market growth, reduce our average production costs and strengthen our international competitiveness, which will benefit the entire K+S Group.”

K+S expects to achieve a production capacity of 2 million metric tons per year by the end of 2017. Potash will be transported by rail to a new K+S port facility in Vancouver, where it will be shipped to customers mainly in South America and Asia. The €3.1 billion ($3.4 billion) Bethune mine is the largest single project in the company’s history.