Western Resources Corp.‘s wholly owned subsidiary Western Potash Corp. has commenced its drilling programme with Artisan Consulting and AKITA Drilling on 14 July 2019 at the company’s Milestone Phase I Potash Project located 35 km southeast of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. After initially targeting the high-grade potash bed, the company will then use advanced horizontal drilling techniques, and by using selective dissolution, to preferentially leach the potash to the surface. This is the world‘s first potash mine that leaves no salt tailings on the surface, thereby significantly reducing water consumption.
Projected to last approximately 4 months, the drilling program will consist of 6 wells that connect to 3 caverns. Each cavern consists of an injection well under the potash bed, and connected withdrawal well which returns the brine back to the surface. After successful drilling and with appropriate regulatory approvals, the caverns will firstly start ‘cold mining’ to enlarge the caverns and saturate the brine with salt in preparation for production, followed by ‘hot mining’ that will recirculate brine into the caverns and preferentially extract the KCl resulting in the buildup of an inventory of potash in the crystal pond. By mid-2020 the process plant will be constructed and ready to harvest the inventory of potash in the pond. The plant will then de-brine, dry and compact the potash and truck to a nearby distribution centre.
Bill Xue, President and CEO of Western Resources welcomed the launch of the Milestone Phase I project by saying that “Western Potash Corp. is very pleased to have reached this milestone on the Project. Our strong project team enabled us to reach this milestone in line with our schedule. We are very confident that this project will lead to the world’s first selective solution potash mine that leaves no surface tailings in Saskatchewan.” The company also appreciates the importance of partnerships between the mining industry and communities to make great things happen. Thus, Western Resources has supported various local projects that build local capacity in the areas of water quality, research and consumption reductions, energy efficiency and renewables development, waste reduction, infrastructure and recycling improvements and innovation.