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AUG 4 2010

Potash Expansions Moving Forward

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Clark Bailey (left) relies on the services of Calvin Jaman (middle) and Alton Berry (right), contract coordinators with global engineer and project management company AMEC.

Clark Bailey (left) relies on the services of Calvin Jaman (middle) and Alton Berry (right), contract coordinators with global engineer and project management company AMEC.

PotashCorp’s ongoing potash facility expansion projects (project management) could be compared to a game of chess. Making one move requires thinking a number of moves ahead and may determine what needs to be done next.

Meet Clark Bailey, the company’s master chess player.

As Senior Vice President of Projects and Technical Services for PotashCorp, Bailey oversees all four of the company’s potash expansion projects: a debottleneck/expansion at Cory, an expansion at Allan, a larger replacement mine and expanded mill at New Brunswick, and a mine and mill expansion at Rocanville.

The Cory project, where construction is scheduled for completion later this year, is 83 percent finished. Once fully ramped up, the facility’s annual operational capability will be increased from 800,000 tonnes to almost 3 million tonnes.

“We have 700,000 hours of construction work left on the project,” said Bailey, who is confident the project will be completed on schedule. “We are already reducing the number of people on site from a high of nearly 1,400 down to approximately 1,200, and they are working to meet the 2010 deadline.”

To ensure the Cory project stays on schedule, a lot of key people are involved. Bailey, who works with them, oversees the plan, which is explained below:

  • An extended shutdown period this summer for the conversion of the headframe is well underway, which is the structure over the mineshafts. The goal is to have the mineshafts in production again in October.
  • Upgrading the existing white potash mill, constructing a new red mill, new rail loading and product storage.
  • Preparing five new underground mining machines and conveyances.

The three other potash projects are also moving along well, according to Bailey.

The Allan debottlenecking project is expected to raise its operational capability to almost 3 million tonnes per year. Construction on the Allan project will include these steps:

  • Expansion of the mill, which will be completed in sections and expected to be finished in 2012. The mill will receive various pieces of new equipment.
  • Construction of a new headframe, which has been designed, the foundation for it already completed, and steel erection began.
  • Design of a new substation, with parts of it fabricated off site to meet an installation deadline beginning later this year.
  • Construction of a new mine/dry building began this spring so that by the winter, interior construction can begin.

The New Brunswick project, which consists of building a new 2 million tonne mine and expanding the mill in Sussex, NB, is divided into several parts:

  • Installation of a new brine pipeline to take the brine from the plant in Sussex to Cassidy Lake, from where the brine continues to the Bay of Fundy.
  • New transformers and major sub-station are now complete and energized.
  • Construction of a new compaction building at the existing Penobsquis plant.
  • Construction of the Picadilly wet mill and salt storage, which are expected to be finished in 2012.
  • Construction of two new headframes, which were both erected last fall.
  • Sinking two new mine shafts from the surface to approximately 1,000 meters underground. Work on both shafts is under way.   With the service shaft already excavated to 253 meters below the "collar" or bottom of the headframe.

At Rocanville, the total project is expected to add 2.7 million tonnes, raising the facility’s annual operational capability to 5.7 million tonnes.

The project is divided into two large parts — Rocanville West, the existing location, and Scissors Creek, the new mine shaft location. The Rocanville West portion includes changes to existing support buildings and construction of a new mill, new substation, dry building, rail loadout and a 500,000-tonne product storage facility.

At the new mill, piles are near completion.  Foundations are being installed with steel to begin later in 2010.  The new product storage building has steel being erected.

Construction at the Scissors Creek location includes a new mineshaft, a new headframe and an office/dry building.

Scissors Creek has the headframe up with steel installed that is needed to begin shaft sinking.  The "Freeze" plants have been operational since April and "Pre-Sink" excavation of the actual shaft began in June.

Once fully ramped-up by 2015 these projects, along with our previously completed expansions are expected to bring PotashCorp’s operational capability to 17.1 million tonnes at a total cost of more than CDN $7 billion.

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