Potash mines 14 billion $investment in Saskatchewan
Potash has brought billions of dollars of investment to the province and is a fundamental part of the Saskatchewan economy, according to the minister responsible for energy and resources, Tourism Saskatchewan, and trade. “The current expansions at the existing potash mines have created almost $14 billion of investment in our province,” said Tim McMillan, whose portfolio falls under the ministry of the economy. “Many of those are completed, some are underway and some are still in the planning stages.”
He said the provincial government is also excited to see new mines being built for the first time in four decades. “For a lot of years, the policy choices were not conducive to development,” explained McMillan. “In fact, the CEO of K + S Potash has said they were upset for years about the way they were treated in Saskatchewan, but today they recognize our province is the best place in the world to do business. They are now investing $4 billion to develop the first new mine in Saskatchewan since the early 1970s.”
The intense focus on potash has been a welcome development for Saskatchewan, according to McMillan. “Ten years ago, potash was a sleepy commodity,” he said. “Now it is in the news on a regular basis.”
He attributes global interest to the demand for food as the world’s population continues to rise. “Countries like China and India, which have ever-increasing standards of living, want access to higher quality food,” he said. “Applying potash in a balanced fashion with other fertilizers is the low-hanging fruit and one of the easiest and fastest ways for farmers to become more productive.”
One of the more high profile investments currently underway is coming from BHP, the largest mining company in the world. While the company has still not given the final go ahead, it continues its plans to develop a new mine at Jansen Lake. “They have never produced potash before, but my understanding is that they view potash as a commodity with great potential over the long term,” said McMillan.
Despite recent concerns that the collapse of the former Soviet Union marketing agency would seriously affect the potash industry, McMillan claims the government continues to believe in the industry’s future in Saskatchewan. “From what we’re hearing from the industry, this isn’t going to affect their long-term investments in the province,” he said. “They are asking ‘Where is the lowest cost place in the world to produce potash?’ and Saskatchewan is very competitive. Even beyond that, when we see things transpiring in other jurisdictions that produce potash, it reaffirms how important political stability is. I think that is a big advantage for our province as well.”
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