K+S Aktiengesellschaft (K+S) has approved C$3.25 billion in capital spending to develop its Legacy solution-mining potash project in southern Saskatchewan, Canada. K+S is headquartered in Kassel, Germany, and is a leading supplier of standard and specialty fertilizers. The company acquired the Legacy project when it acquired Potash One (now K+S Potash Canada) at the beginning of 2011 and since that time has revised and optimized the project feasibility study.

Initial infrastructure construction for water supply, electricity and road development, as well as drilling activity, has already begun at the Legacy site. Initial production is planned for 2015, building to 2 million mt/y of potassium chloride in 2017, followed by a gradual expansion to 2.86 million mt/y by 2023. In a further expansion phase, production is planned to increase to a total of about 4 million mt/y of potassium chloride about 10 years later.

The Legacy project area is located about 50 km north of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The initial exploration area at the project, which only makes up a fraction of the total permitted area of K+S Potash Canada, has proven reserves of 160 million mt of final potash product. Mine life is estimated at more than 55 years, including ramp up. At about 18%, the K2O content of the reserves is significantly higher than that of K+S’s German sites, which will enable more efficient and economic extraction. The remainder of the lease area contains additional resources of almost 1 billion mt of potassium chloride.

In addition to the Legacy project, K+S also acquired other exploration permit areas in southern Saskatchewan when it acquired Potash One. Due to the limited geological data, the deposits in these areas cannot yet be classified as resources and reserves. The K+S announcement said: “However, the permits are located in areas of known geologically high-quality potash deposits in Saskatchewan and should for that reason constitute a future potential that is not to be underestimated. Therefore, a Legacy project II or III cannot be ruled out in the future.”