Mining Intelligence and News

Vanscoy Mine

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Mine TypeUnderground
  • Potash
Mining Method
  • Continuous
  • Room-and-pillar
Production Start... Lock
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotAt Vanscoy mine, potash ore has been mined and concentrated to produce saleable quantities of high grade finished potash products. Raw potash ore is processed on surface and concentrated finished potash products (near-pure KCl) are sold and shipped to markets in North America and offshore.

In recent years, the Vanscoy mine underwent a major expansion which brought the nameplate capacity up to 3.0 million tonnes of finished potash products per year.


Nutrien Ltd. 100 % Indirect
Nutrien Ltd. owns and operates a potash mine at Vanscoy indirectly through Agrium.



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Deposit type

  • Evaporite


Much of southern Saskatchewan is underlain by the Prairie Evaporite Formation, a layered sequence of salts and anhydrite which contains one of the world’s largest deposits of potash. The potash extracted from the predominantly sylvinitic ore has its main use as a fertilizer.

The 100 m to 200 m thick Prairie Evaporite Formation is overlain by approximately 400 m of Devonian carbonates followed by 100 m of Cretaceous sandstone, 400 m of Cretaceous shales, and 100m of recent Pleistocene glacial tills to surface. The Prairie Evaporite Formation is underlain by Devonian carbonates. The Phanerozoic stratigraphy of Saskatchewan is remarkable in that units are flat-lying and relatively undisturbed over very large areas.

Potash mineralization in this region of Saskatchewan is predominantly sylvinite, which is comprised mainly of the minerals sylvite (KCl) and halite or rock salt (NaCl), with trace carnallite (KMgCl3 · 6H2O) and minor water insolubles. Potash fertilizer is concentrated, nearly pure KCl (i.e. greater than 95% pure KCl), but ore grade is traditionally reported on a % K2O equivalent basis. The “% K2O equivalent” gives a standard measurement of the nutrient value of different potassium-bearing rocks and minerals. To convert from % K2O equivalent tonnes to actual KCl tonnes, multiply by 1.58.

Over the past three years (2018, 2019, 2020), the average measured potash ore grade of the mill feed at Vanscoy was 25.6% K20 equivalent. The average ore grade reported from 36 historic surface drillhole intersections, all within Vanscoy Subsurface Mineral Lease KL 114C, is 24.9% K20 equivalent (discussed further in Section 10.0). The average ore grade observed from thousands of in-mine samples collected to the end of December 2020 is 24.2% K20 equivalent.

There are three mineable potash members within the Prairie Evaporite Formation of Saskatchewan. Stratigraphically highest to lowest, these members are: Patience Lake, Belle Plaine, and Esterhazy.

The Vanscoy potash deposit lies within the Patience Lake Potash Member of Prairie Evaporite Formation. There are two potash seams named A Zone and B Zone within this Member; at present, only the A Zone is being mined at Vanscoy and no test mining has been carried out in the B Zone to date. Neither the Esterhazy nor the White Bear Potash Members are present in the Vanscoy area. The Belle Plaine Potash Member is not well-developed, and therefore is not mined.

Vanscoy potash mineralization occurs at approximately 1,000 m to 1,120 m depth below surface. The A Zone is approximately 3.35 m thick and occurs near the top of the Prairie Evaporite Formation salts. Salt cover from the ore zone to overlying units is approximately 12 m.



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills


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Over the past decade, actual mill recovery rates have been between 76.00% and 83.20%, averaging 80.36%.
Potash Salt Mt  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe1.

Operational metrics

Annual production capacity  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe3 Mt of potash salt3 Mt of potash salt3,000 kt of potash salt3,000 kt of potash salt
Ore tonnes mined  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe4.06 Mt6.49 Mt7.37 Mt

Production Costs

Commodity production costs have not been reported.


Gross profit M USD 129  

Heavy Mobile Equipment


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Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Mar 25, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Mar 25, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Mar 25, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Mar 25, 2024

...... Subscription required 2020

Aerial view:


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