Canada

Esterhazy (K3) Mine

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Categories

Overview

Mine TypeUnderground
StatusActive
Commodities
  • Potash
Mining Method
  • Room-and-pillar
  • Continuous
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SnapshotEsterhazy, the largest potash mine in the world, will complete full capacity and production ramp-up during 2024 or early 2025. The K3 expansion provided the required capacity and production following the closure of the K1 and K2 mines in the second year. quarter 2021. Decommissioning of the K1 and K2 shafts at our Esterhazy, Saskatchewan mine was completed in 2022.

Owners

SourceSource
CompanyInterestOwnership
The Mosaic Company 100 % Indirect
Mosaic Potash Esterhazy Limited Partnership (operator) 100 % Direct

Contractors

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Deposit type

  • Evaporite

Summary:

The intracratonic Elk Point Basin is a major sedimentary geological feature in western Canada and the northwest U.S. It contains one of the world’s largest stratabound potash resources. The nature of this type of deposition is largely continuous with predictable depths and thickness. It is mined at several locations, including the Esterhazy Facility.

Potash at the Esterhazy Facility area occurs conformably within Middle Devonian-age sedimentary rocks and is found in total thicknesses ranging from approximately 100 to 131 feet (30 to 40 m) at a depth of approximately 5,345 to 5,740 feet (1,630 to 1,750 m).

The Prairie Evaporite Formation, host to the potash mineralization, is divided into a basal “lower salt” and an overlying unnamed unit containing three potash-bearing units and one unit containing thin marker beds. In ascending order, the potash horizons in the upper unit are the Esterhazy Member, White Bear Marker Beds, Belle Plaine Member, and Patience Lake Member. Mineralogically, these members consist of sylvite and halite, with minor amounts of carnallite (KCl, MgCl2, 6H2O).

In the Esterhazy area, the Esterhazy, White Bear and Belle Plaine Members are present, and the Patience Lake Member is absent. The following is a summary of the key stratigraphic units for the Esterhazy Potash Facility area:
• Belle Plaine Member: The Belle Plaine Member underlies Second Red Bed and makes up part of the salt back that is critical to isolating the mining horizon from the formations above. The Belle Plaine Member is mined using solution mining techniques at the Belle Plaine Facility and is not mined at the Esterhazy Facility.
• White Bear Member: The White Bear Member consists of marker beds that are a distinctive unit of thin interbedded clay, halite, and sylvinite horizons that are not minable due to their insufficient thickness of only 4.0 to 5.0 feet.
• Esterhazy Member: The Esterhazy Member is separated from the Belle Plaine Member by the White Bear Member marker beds, a sequence of clay seams, low-grade sylvinite, and halite. The Esterhazy Member is mined using conventional underground techniques at the Esterhazy Facility in southeastern Saskatchewan, and by solution mining techniques at the Belle Plaine Facility.

The typical sylvinite intervals within the Prairie Evaporite Formation consist of a mass of interlocked sylvite crystals that range from pink to translucent and may be rimmed by greenish-grey clay or bright red iron insoluble material, with minor halite randomly disseminated throughout the mineralized zones. Local large one inch (2.5 cm) cubic translucent to cloudy halite crystals may be present within the sylvite groundmass, and overall, the sylvinite ranges from a dusky brownish red color (lower grade, 23% to 27% K2O with an increase in the amount of insoluble material) to a bright, almost translucent pinkish orange color (high grade, 30%+ K2O). Carnallite is also present locally in the Prairie Evaporite Formation as a mineral fraction of the depositional sequence. The intervening barren salt beds consist of brownish red, vitreous to translucent halite with minor sylvite and carnallite and increased insoluble materials content.

Reserves

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Mining Methods

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Comminution

Crushers and Mills

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Processing

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Production

CommodityUnits202320222021202020192018201720162015
Potash Mt  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe3.94.64.34.24.3
All production numbers are expressed as crystals.

Operational metrics

Metrics202320222021202020192018201720162015
Annual production capacity  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe6 Mt of potash crystals5.3 Mt of potash crystals5.3 Mt of potash crystals5.3 Mt of potash crystals
Ore tonnes mined  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe11.9 Mt13.9 Mt13.1 Mt12.6 Mt13.1 Mt

Production Costs

Commodity production costs have not been reported.

Financials

Units2023202220212020201920182017
Capital expenditures M USD  ....  Subscribe 388   338   287  
Book Value M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe

Heavy Mobile Equipment

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Personnel

Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Apr 29, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Apr 29, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Apr 29, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Apr 29, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Apr 29, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Apr 29, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Apr 29, 2024

Total WorkforceYear
...... Subscription required 2021
...... Subscription required 2020
...... Subscription required 2019
...... Subscription required 2018
...... Subscription required 2017

Aerial view:

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