Efficient and reliable production of downstream nitrogen products starts with access to a dependable, affordable source of ammonia. The return of 500,000 tonnes of annual ammonia capacity at PotashCorp’s Geismar facility fills both needs. more
As the $1.6 billion expansion at PotashCorp’s Cory operation nears completion, the site’s new red potash mill has become a hub of activity.
Chad Litzenberger, Cory’s mill operations superintendent, said there have been innumerable steps taken to get the new mill from the design phase to where it is today – processing potash and ramping up to its full operational capability. more
At Rocanville, Saskatchewan, one of the largest projects within PotashCorp’s $8.2 billion expansion program, work remains steadily underway.
It’s at Scissors Creek where PotashCorp is sinking the first new potash mine shaft in Saskatchewan in three decades. It is difficult work, but seeing it come together illustrates the thousands of hours spent detailing every inch of the project.
While a lot of work has been done since the headframe was constructed, this time-lapse video shows how, layer by layer, the Scissors Creek headframe rose above the still Saskatchewan prairie.
If moving a piece of mining equipment that’s the size of a two-car garage and weighs nearly 500,000 pounds sounds like a tough job, imagine moving it from the surface of the earth down to 1,000 metres underground. more
We believe our expansion efforts today will play an increasingly important role in helping produce enough food for the world’s ever-growing population. more
Producing more potash is one thing, getting it to the customer faster and more reliably is another.
As we increase our potash operational capability to meet the anticipated growing needs of our customers, we need to enhance our transportation network to get product to them in a more time efficient manner. That’s why we are investing approximately $53 million to expand our distribution capabilities at Hammond, Indiana. more
One of the most challenging parts of accessing Saskatchewan’s potash reserves deep underground comes in the form of a wet, sandy layer of earth located between 400 and 600 meters below surface.
This is where the Blairmore Formation is found. It’s a 100-meter thick zone that has threatened the success of potash mining in Saskatchewan since the first shaft was sunk in the mid-1950s.
Arnfinn Prugger, PotashCorp’s Senior Director, Earth Science and Mining, explains that during the excavation of a mining shaft, the layer of sand will immediately collapse into the hole if it’s not frozen and walled-off to prevent it from moving.
Unfortunately for Saskatchewan’s potash pioneers, they discovered the Blairmore Formation the hard way. The first potash shaft sunk near Unity around 1955 failed as a result of the sand flooding the project and making the potash layer, located about 1,000 meters underground, inaccessible.
“The first shaft sinking operation failed at that Blairmore level. The subsequent mines, almost all of them, decided ‘ok, we’re going to have to freeze this ground, that way we’re excavating through solid rock’,” Prugger said.
Since then, potash engineers have been using what’s known as a Blairmore Ring to hold back the temperamental layer. After freezing the zone, concrete is used to wall off the wet sand, then a series of iron rings – Blairmore Rings – are fixed to the concrete, making a barrier strong enough to prevent the earth from moving in on the shaft.
As the first company to sink a potash shaft in Saskatchewan in decades, PotashCorp is using new technology to improve the Blairmore Ring solution, Prugger explained. Crews are currently working in this zone at the new Scissors Creek shaft at the Rocanville operation.
Higher-strength concrete, improved calculations and 3D imaging are all helping the project come along safely and efficiently. While the idea is the same, Blairmore innovation has evolved since the last shaft was sunk at PotashCorp’s Lanigan operation in 1980.
“We’re building on what people did in the past, and trying to learn from any mistakes that they made,” he said.
Out of 114 Blairmore Rings to be installed in the shaft at Scissors Creek, some 33 had been fitted to the concrete barrier by in early May, 2012. The rings will be covered by concrete again, essentially making a “concrete and steel sandwich” 623 meters underground.
The new shaft at Scissors Creek is expected to be complete in 2013 and the project is expected to be fully ramped up by 2015.
The idea behind mine shafts is simple – people go down, product comes up – but there’s nothing easy about designing and building a shaft that drops 1,000 metres below the surface, especially through Canada’s diverse geology. And yet as part of its $7.7 billion expansion program, PotashCorp is doing just that three times over – with one new shaft at Rocanville and two in New Brunswick. more
It has been 9 months since we first launched our expansion site in August of 2011. We hope you have enjoyed reading our posts; now we want to hear from you!
What questions do you have on our potash expansions and what would you like to learn more about?
Any feedback you have on our expansion site we welcome with open ears! Please send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
At PotashCorp, we’re expanding our operations to meet a growing global need for fertilizer. As a result, we’re creating jobs at our potash mines in Canada.
Over the next three years, we expect to add almost 800 positions at our potash facilities in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. Add to this some 300 employees expected to retire over the same period and you can see how we are impacting the communities where we operate. more