K+S Potash Canada (KSPC) reported that construction of the Legacy mine near Bethune, Saskatchewan, currently the biggest, is nearing completion. The workforce numbers, including K+S employees and construction contractors, are the highest to date; commissioning of the mine is on track for the end of August and the first ton of potash is scheduled to be produced by the end of the year.

“We are reaching the final milestones on the road to production,” said Dr. Ulrich Lamp, president and CEO, KSPC. “Our team has worked hard to keep our project on time and on budget, and I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished. The progress has been incredible.”

KSPC broke ground for its Legacy project solution potash mine in June 2012, which will be the first new potash mine in Saskatchewan in more than 40 years. The open prairie, which hosted the ground breaking, has changed dramatically in the last four years.

Today, 20 underground caverns, in which potash ore is dissolved, are developed and ready to provide potash-rich brine to the production facility at startup. More than 100 employees have moved into permanent spaces in the new operations and administration buildings on site. External utilities are all up and running, ready to fully service production, and at this stage, about 90% of the total budget of C$4.1 billion has been invested.

“Many milestones have been achieved to get us where we are today — close to being fully operational,” said Sam Farris, vice president and general manager of Operations, KSPC. “Now, we’re all looking forward to commissioning the mine end of August and producing our first ton by the end of the year.”

The Legacy project is presently the largest job creator in Saskatchewan, currently providing 4,500 construction jobs, and is creating new business opportunities for Saskatchewan companies supplying goods and services to the project. Legacy has also contributed to Saskatchewan’s growth through tax revenues, utilities and local partnerships. Once in production, it is anticipated that the mine will produce 2 million metric tons (mt) of potash per year, ramping up to 2.86 million mt in subsequent years.