Saturday 3rd December 2016

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT)’

Saskatchewan miners sponsor six days of site visits for teachers

August 15th, 2016

by Greg Klein | August 15, 2016

A 5,000-kilometre tour offers Saskatchewan schools insight into mining’s importance to the province and the province’s importance to mining. This year’s Rock’n the Classroom GeoVenture Program began August 15 as 19 teachers took a half-day workshop in Saskatoon. The Saskatchewan Mining Association sponsors the annual event, paying all expenses except a $50 fee.

Saskatchewan miners sponsor six days of site visits for teachers

On the itinerary are PotashCorp’s (TSX:POT) Patience Lake solution mine, Mosaic’s (NYSE:MOS) Esterhazy underground potash mine and mill, Westmoreland Coal’s Poplar River open pit operation and the world’s largest uranium operation at Cameco Corp’s (TSX:CCO) majority-owned McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill.

Other destinations will include earth science-related attractions such as the Potash Interpretive Centre in Esterhazy. Handouts include resource kits, lesson plans, posters and maps for the classroom.

The program “offers educators a front-row seat to explore Saskatchewan’s mineral industry and learn of related career opportunities for their students,” the SMA stated.

Ontario teachers also qualify for multi-day mining tours, these ones hosted by the non-profit Canadian Ecology Centre.

Another overwhelming election victory for the Saskatchewan Party

April 4th, 2016

by Greg Klein | April 4, 2016

Updated results:

  • Saskatchewan Party 51 seats, 62.63% of the popular vote
  • New Democratic Party 10 seats, 30.36%

Pollsters must be as happy as Saskatchewan Party supporters to see Brad Wall’s group win a predicted third consecutive landslide. The results might suggest a continued status quo for a province that’s held second place for two years in the Fraser Institute’s most important index of mining jurisdictions globally. Saskatchewan has stayed in the top six for the last five years.

Another overwhelming election victory for the Saskatchewan Party

Mining-friendly Saskatchewan once
again carried Brad Wall to victory.
Photo: Saskatchewan Party

The province’s Athabasca Basin region hosts the world’s highest uranium grades, while potash resources farther south also rank among the world’s most important. According to the Saskatchewan Party, the province’s mineral sales rose more than 90% from $4.4 billion in 2007 to an estimated $8.3 billion in 2015.

During the campaign, the party credited itself with promoting the province’s uranium to China and India. The latter country resumed imports last year after Ottawa lifted a previous ban on sales to that country.

Wall has said he’d support federal legislation that would allow foreign companies to hold a majority stake in Canadian uranium mines. But in 2010, his party successfully lobbied Ottawa to block BHP Billiton’s (NYSE:BHP) attempted takeover of Potash Corp of Saskatchewan TSX:POT.

Wall opposes resource revenue-sharing for natives, saying “that money belongs to everyone equally.” But the opposition NDP hasn’t supported such a policy either.

Meanwhile there’s speculation that the supposedly “arch-conservative” Wall might avoid new taxes by launching a post-election deficit budget for a province hit hard by the oil downturn. There are also rumours, according to the National Post, that he’s studying French.

Could that mean an enthusiasm for the French cuisine of Swift Current? An effort to incorporate existentialism into Saskatchewanian political discourse? Or, as the NP wonders, does Wall harbour federal ambitions?

Western Potash slashes costs

July 2nd, 2015

Update: $80-million investment puts Milestone on the road to potash production

by Greg Klein

Update: On July 6 Western Potash announced an $80-million strategic investment from private equity firm Beijing Tairui Innovation Capital Management. Read more.

 

Showing a dramatic cut in capital and operating costs, Western Potash TSX:WPX revived its Milestone potash project with a preliminary economic assessment announced July 2. Taking advantage of improvements in horizontal drilling and selective mining, the company now proposes an initially smaller but upwardly scalable approach to solution mining for the southern Saskatchewan property. With an offtake agreement already in place and amid a backdrop of potash M&A activity, Western expects the new plan to attract a wider range of investor interest.

To be sure, the new PEA proposes a more modest project than originally envisioned. A December 2012 feasibility study projected 40 years of production, but at a capex of $2.44 billion. The following summer saw the Uralkali/Belaruskali breakup, ending a cartel-like partnership that kept prices around $450 a tonne. Obviously Milestone needed a re-think.

Western Potash slashes capex and opex with a new plan for Milestone

By providing a key ingredient for fertilizer, Western Potash’s
Milestone project could help feed a hungry world.

That came with a scoping study for a downsized but scalable pilot project. The new calculations assume a potash price of US$315 per tonne FOB Vancouver. Capex now comes to $80.6 million, opex to $80 per tonne and transportation costs to $70 per tonne (all prices Canadian, except where noted). Using a 10% discount rate, the PEA calculates a net present value of $56.7 million and a 25.2% internal rate of return after taxes and royalty.

Those streamlined numbers result from a different approach to solution mining. The new plan calls for simultaneous operation of three caverns. They’d be injected with a sodium chloride-saturated brine that would dissolve potassium chloride. Once brought to surface, it would be recovered through a simplified process that wouldn’t produce salt tailings. The result would be about 145,600 tonnes of standard grade muriate of potash (potassium chloride) per year over a 12-year lifespan.

“We looked around the world at what others were doing, not just in potash but in soluble salts and soda ash, and what other processes were being done,” project director Richard Lock tells ResourceClips.com. “One of the key advantages was the advance of directional drilling. We could use that to establish the cavern and then focus only on selective mining or secondary mining. Instead of the conventional process of opening up a primary cavern and taking out both KCl [potassium chloride] and NaCl [sodium chloride], we just take out the KCl.”

“Obviously when you don’t have to bring the NaCl to surface and separate it from the solution, you have a major capital cost saving. That’s the real critical issue here—that by taking basically half the process plant away you get that major capital cost saving.”

With 25 years’ experience in mine development, Lock adds, “When we apply those technologies to the Saskatchewan resource it’s in some ways easier than other projects I’ve done around the world.”

Lock began his career with De Beers in South Africa before working with Rio Tinto NYE:RIO to take the Northwest Territories’ Diavik diamond mine into production. Lock also finished an Alberta oilsands project for Canadian Natural Resources and served as project director for Arizona’s Resolution project, an engineering marvel that could become North America’s largest copper mine.

Western’s 100%-owned Milestone has two continental railways cutting through its 35,420 hectares and a deal with the city of Regina, 30 kilometres away, to supply the mine with treated waste water.

Milestone’s PEA comes with a new resource using a 15.8% KCl cutoff to show:

  • measured: 7.17 million tonnes averaging 39.5% KCl

  • indicated: 11.56 million tonnes averaging 39% KCl

  • inferred: 1.77 million tonnes averaging 39% KCl

“We’d be starting with a small facility to prove up the technology,” Lock explains. “There’s no question there’ll be some fine-tuning of our methodology and processes as we develop these three test caverns, but we’re very confident that we can apply this technology to Saskatchewan. The endgame isn’t 150,000 tonnes, it’s a million tonnes plus. So once we’ve demonstrated this mining methodology we hope to quickly expand to a full-scale million-tonne-plus facility.”

The endgame isn’t 150,000 tonnes, it’s a million tonnes plus. So once we’ve demonstrated this mining methodology we hope to quickly expand to a full-scale million-tonne-plus facility.—Richard Lock, project director
for Western Potash

He sees the pilot project happening without a feasibility study. “Depending on raising the funds, we’d go straight into engineering and construction.”

Still in effect is a June 2013 offtake agreement with a joint venture of Benewood Holdings and China BlueChemical, the latter a majority-owned subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corp, China’s largest offshore oil and gas producer. With a 19.9% interest in Western, the JV has agreed to buy or designate a buyer to purchase the lesser of either 30% of Milestone’s production or one million tonnes of potash annually.

“Obviously we’ve shared everything we’ve done with them and they’re very excited by what this could mean,” Lock says.

The PEA comes amid heightened potash M&A activity, with the world’s largest producer, PotashCorp of Saskatchewan TSX:POT, trying to woo Germany’s K+S AG with a reported US$8.5-billion offer. A few weeks earlier Israel Chemicals Ltd NYE:ICL scooped up TSX-listed explorer Allana Potash for $137 million.

Milestone’s neighbours consist of K+S, BHP Billiton NYE:BHP, Vale NYE:VALE and a JV of Rio and North Atlantic Potash.

As for the revamped project, “We’re very confident we’ll be attractive to some mining investors who are looking for a good entry into the potash space,” Lock says. “I think this really opens up the field of investors to those who can see the game-changing advantage of what we’re proposing.”

 

Update: On July 6 Western Potash announced an $80-million strategic investment from private equity firm Beijing Tairui Innovation Capital Management. Read more.

Disclaimer: Western Potash Corp is a client of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of ResourceClips.com. The principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in Western Potash.

All 39 Vale miners surface after underground fire at Thompson

April 6th, 2015

by Greg Klein | April 6, 2015

No injuries were reported after the last of 39 miners returned following a fire at Vale’s (NYSE:VALE) Thompson, Manitoba nickel operation, the Winnipeg Free Press reported April 6. The blaze broke out in remote-controlled machinery 850 metres underground around 3:30 p.m. the previous day. Miners waited out the ordeal in refuge stations stocked with oxygen and supplies for an extended period.

All 39 Vale miners surface after underground fire at Thompson

A Vale file photo shows Thompson
employees in rescue gear.

Workers in an adjoining mine also took refuge but surfaced Sunday night. Others were stuck until early Monday afternoon, when air quality was deemed satisfactory.

Vale’s Manitoba operations consist of the Thompson and Birchtree mines, the Thompson mill, Thompson smelter and Thompson refinery. They employ about 1,500 people, the company states.

In November 2013, the Free Press reported Vale faced 10 charges under Manitoba’s Workplace Safety and Health Act resulting from the death of a Thompson miner in 2011.

Last week CBC reported three Sudbury employees of Vale face 17 charges under Ontario legislation following a fatality last year at the Copper Cliff smelter.

A September fire at PotashCorp’s (TSX:POT) Allan mine in Saskatchewan trapped 96 miners underground, some of them for more than 36 hours. Another fire the previous February kept more than 50 Agrium TSX:AGU workers in refuge stations overnight.

Miners safe after another Saskatchewan potash fire

September 11th, 2014

by Greg Klein | September 11, 2014

All 96 workers have returned to safety after Saskatchewan’s second potash project fire in eight days. No injuries were reported. But the last miners didn’t resurface until 8:30 p.m. local time September 11. Their shift started at 7 a.m. the previous day.

The blaze started at 4 p.m. September 10 in the engine of an underground water truck at PotashCorp’s (TSX:POT) Allan mine, according to a Canadian Press story published by the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Most miners moved to refuge stations equipped with food, water and communications. But others, caught in dead-end sections of the mine, used a “battice,” described by CP as a curtain to seal themselves off. Those workers had no provisions other than their lunch buckets.

Miners safe after another Saskatchewan potash fire

The Allan fire was Saskatchewan’s fourth underground
potash mine blaze since September 2012.

After an emergency crew put down the fire and cleared smoke, CP stated, about half the miners made their way out the night of September 10. But others were then stranded by a power failure that shut down air circulation fans and communications.

Ron St. Pierre, president of the site’s United Steelworkers local, was working above ground as a hoist operator when the fire broke out. He described some of the evacuees as “grouchy and hungry,” according to CP. “There’s not much to do but play cards or sleep, he said.”

CBC reported the last three workers got out around 8:30 p.m., September 11.

On September 2 a surface fire broke out at PotashCorp’s Cory mill, also in Saskatchewan. The cause is being investigated.

Last February a fire at Agrium’s (TSX:AGU) Vanscoy potash mine trapped over 50 underground workers overnight.

In January 2013 all 318 miners made it to safety after a fire at Mosaic’s (NYE:MOS) K2 mine.

At Rocanville, another PotashCorp mine, a September 2012 fire trapped 20 workers for 17 hours. At the time the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union attributed over 50 fatalities to Saskatchewan’s potash industry “since its inception in the late 1950s.”

Saskatchewan mining: Cigar Lake resumes, fire at PotashCorp, TFWs at potash project

September 5th, 2014

by Greg Klein | September 5, 2014

Cameco restarts Cigar Lake, strike continues at McArthur River/Key Lake

Production has resumed at Cameco Corp’s (TSX:CCO) Cigar Lake uranium operation, according to a September 4 Reuters report. Mining was suspended in mid-July to reinforce a process of freezing the rock with a brine solution to prevent flooding. The world’s highest-grade uranium mine after Cameco’s McArthur River, Cigar Lake finally began operations in March after numerous delays.

The company has stated the mine’s annual target of 18 million pounds U3O8 by 2018 “will not be impacted.”

Meanwhile McArthur River and the Key Lake mill remain on suspension due to a labour dispute. Management and union have yet to resume talking, according to media reports. By press time Cameco media relations manager Rob Gereghty hadn’t responded to a ResourceClips.com request for confirmation.

Cameco holds a 50.025% interest in Cigar Lake, a joint venture with AREVA Resources Canada (37.1%), Idemitsu Canada Resources (7.875%) and TEPCO Resources (5%). Cameco has a 70% stake in McArthur River and 83% in Key Lake, with AREVA holding the rest.

Fire shuts down PotashCorp’s Cory facility

Saskatchewan mining Cigar Lake resumes, PotashCorp fire, TFWs at potash project

A fire at PotashCorp’s Cory facility suspended
operations but won’t affect production targets.

No one was injured but a fire forced PotashCorp TSX:POT to suspend operations at its Cory mill in southern Saskatchewan on September 2. “There will be no material impact on operations,” a spokesperson told Industrial Minerals. The fire’s cause is under investigation.

The Saskatoon StarPhoenix reported the fire broke out on the mill’s roof. In the past, workers have been trapped by underground fires in Saskatchewan potash mines.

Employee-owned company dumps Canadians in favour of TFWs at Agrium project

Canadian workers at another southern Saskatchewan potash mine were laid off while temporary foreign workers stayed on, according to reports that surfaced earlier this week. Alliance Energy let go about 50 Canadian electricians working on an expansion of Agrium’s (TSX:AGU) Vanscoy operation. Alliance retained 30 to 40 TFWs. Company president Bryan Leverick told CBC the layoffs were “based on merit.”

CBC stated Ottawa is investigating the company, which was given permission to hire foreign workers before the rules were tightened up.

Alliance describes itself as “an employee-owned company.”

Read more about temporary foreign workers in Canadian mines here and here.

April 24th, 2014

Japan shows that central banks cannot produce growth with QE GoldSeek
Seven rare metals you might never have heard of Geology for Investors
Heilongjiang, China announces plans to clean up graphite industry Industrial Minerals
BHP Billiton poised to take $1-billion stake in Potash Corp: Scotia Capital Stockhouse
Three key metrics to identify a superstar investment Streetwise Reports
How Russia is working together with China Equedia
Dark markets may be more harmful than high-frequency trading VantageWire

April 23rd, 2014

Japan shows that central banks cannot produce growth with QE GoldSeek
Seven rare metals you might never have heard of Geology for Investors
Heilongjiang, China announces plans to clean up graphite industry Industrial Minerals
BHP Billiton poised to take $1-billion stake in Potash Corp: Scotia Capital Stockhouse
Three key metrics to identify a superstar investment Streetwise Reports
How Russia is working together with China Equedia
Dark markets may be more harmful than high-frequency trading VantageWire

April 22nd, 2014

Seven rare metals you might never have heard of
Heilongjiang, China announces plans to clean up graphite industry Industrial Minerals
BHP Billiton poised to take $1-billion stake in Potash Corp: Scotia Capital Stockhouse
Three key metrics to identify a superstar investment Streetwise Reports
How Russia is working together with China Equedia
Dark markets may be more harmful than high-frequency trading VantageWire
Infographic—Unearthing the world’s gold supply GoldSeek

April 17th, 2014

Heilongjiang, China announces plans to clean up graphite industry Industrial Minerals
BHP Billiton poised to take $1-billion stake in Potash Corp: Scotia Capital Stockhouse
Three key metrics to identify a superstar investment Streetwise Reports
How Russia is working together with China Equedia
Alluvial and placer mineral deposits Geology for Investors
Dark markets may be more harmful than high-frequency trading VantageWire
Infographic—Unearthing the world’s gold supply GoldSeek