Canada

Belle Plaine Mine

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Categories

Overview

Mine TypeIn-Situ
StatusActive
Commodities
  • Potash
Mining Method
  • Solution mining
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SnapshotBelle Plaine is the oldest and largest potash solution mine in the world.

Natural gas is used at Belle Plaine solution mine as a fuel to produce steam and to dry potash products. The steam is used to generate electricity and provide thermal energy to the evaporation, crystallization and solution mining processes.

Owners

SourceSource
CompanyInterestOwnership
The Mosaic Company 100 % Indirect
Belle Plaine potash facility is 100% owned by Mosaic Canada ULC, a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of The Mosaic Company.

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 USA. 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 estimated to host >5 billion tonnes of ore (Orris, 2014) and is mined at a number of locations, including Mosaic's Belle Plaine. Esterhazy and C'olonsay potash facilities. Saskatchewan potash represents almost 25% of the global potash production due to its relatively low-cost, bulk tonnage mining methods. (Orris. 2014).

The Prairie Evaporite hosts rich deposits of evaporite minerals including halite (NaCl), sylvite (KCl) and locally, carnallite. There arc a number of insoluble clay-rich zones that arc not recovered in the solution mining process. The potash deposit at Belle Plaine is uniform and laterally continuous. Solution mining methods can more easily accommodate any local variations in geological condition due to the non-selective concentrate mining process.

Three potash deposits of economic importance occur in Saskatchewan: the Esterhazy, Belle Plaine and Patience Lake Members. The Belle Plaine Potash Facility is a solution mine that recovers potash from each of the Estcrhazy, Belle Plaine and Patience Lake Members. The following is a summary of the key stratigraphic units for the Belle Plaine Potash Facility:

• Patience Lake Member: The uppermost member of the Prairie Evaporite Formation with potash production potential. Between the top of the Prairie Evaporite Formation and the top of the Patience Lake Member is a 0 to 45 ft. (0 to 14 tn) thick unit of halite with clay bands called the salt back. The sylvite-rich horizons within the Patience Lake Member arc mined using conventional underground mining techniques in the Saskatoon. Saskatchewan area and by solution mining techniques at Belle Plaine.

• Belle Plaine Member: The Belle Plaine Member underlies the Patience Lake Member and is separated from it by a zone of low grade sylvinitc. The Belle Plaine Member is mined using solution mining techniques at Belle Plaine.

• Esterhazy Member: The Esterhazy Member is separated from the Belle Plaine Member by the White Bear Marker Beds, a sequence of clay scams, low-grade sylvinitc, and halite. The Esterhazy Member is mined using conventional underground techniques at Mosaic's Esterhazy Potash Facility in southeastern Saskatchewan and by solution mining techniques at Belle Plaine.

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 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% K O with an increase in the amount of insoluble material) to a bright, almost translucent pinkish orange color (high grade, 30%+ K O). 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

Milling equipment has not been reported.

Processing

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Production

Ore tonnes mined is calculated as equivalent to hoisted tonnes at a conventional mine.
CommodityUnits202320222021202020192018201720162015
Potash Mt  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe2.72.82.72.42.1
All production numbers are expressed as crystals.

Operational metrics

Metrics202320222021202020192018201720162015
Annual production capacity  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe3 Mt of potash crystals3 Mt of potash crystals3 Mt of potash crystals2.4 Mt of potash crystals
Ore tonnes mined  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe11.9 Mt10.6 Mt10.2 Mt9 Mt8 Mt

Production Costs

Commodity production costs have not been reported.

Financials

Units2023202220212020201920182017
Capital expenditures M USD  ....  Subscribe 53.5   52.9   37.2  
Book Value M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe

Heavy Mobile Equipment

Fleet data has not been reported.

Personnel

Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Apr 26, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Apr 26, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Apr 26, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Apr 26, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Apr 26, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Apr 26, 2024

Total WorkforceYear
...... Subscription required 2023
...... Subscription required 2022
...... Subscription required 2021
...... Subscription required 2009

Aerial view:

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