About Bethune Mine
KSPC celebrated the Grand Opening of Bethune mine, formerly the Legacy Project, in May 2017.
Bethune mine is located in the RM of Dufferin #190, near the communities of Bethune and Findlater.
After breaking ground in 2012, K+S Potash Canada, together with its Design and Project Management partner Amec Foster Wheeler, began constructing the Legacy Project. During the project phase, the project provided thousands of job opportunities to Saskatchewan workers and new business opportunities for Saskatchewan companies supplying goods and services to the major economic development.
K+S Potash Canada (KSPC) began commissioning the mine in summer of 2016, and celebrated the Grand Opening in May 2017. In following with Saskatchewan potash mining tradition, the mine was officially renamed "Bethune" during the Grand Opening event in honour of the nearest neighbouring community.
Significance of Bethune
At an investment of about $4.1 billion, Bethune mine is the single largest project in the company history of the K+S Group. The mine has enabled K+S Group to:
- gain access to valuable potash resources from an additional source
- better positioned itself to participate in the expected market growth
- decrease its average potash production costs significantly
- become the only potash producer with production sites on two continents
- extend its worldwide presence and proximity to markets
- strengthen its competitiveness significantly
Once Bethune mine is in production, K+S Potash Canada will extract potash crude salt, which will be further processed to three different products of potassium chloride. Bethune potash will be used as natural fertilizers and compacted to use in a variety of industrial applications.
Sales and distribution will be carried out through the K+S Group’s experienced and well established global distribution structures. North America, South America and Asian markets will be accessed and served by Bethune production. For example, K+S has entered into an agreement with Koch Fertilizer to supply a projected annual volume of up to 450,000 tonnes of granular potash in the US.
In addition to the mine site, K+S Potash Canada also has Rail and Port infrastructure.
K+S Potash Canada (KSPC) partnered with Pacific Coast Terminals (PCT) to help construct and operate their potash handling and storage facility at PCT’s bulk handling facility located in Port Moody near Vancouver, British Columbia. In spring of 2014, PCT and KSPC signed an exclusive, long-term agreement that called for the construction of a new potash handling and storage facility. Potash products arriving by rail from the Bethune mine will be stored on site and transported to vessels destined for K+S Group’s international clients.
To ensure a rail connection, KSPC partnered with Canadian Pacific (CP). Potash bound for port will transported by CP from the Bethune mine. In spring 2017, CP completed the 30 km Belle Plaine subdivision, a new line of rail that links Bethune mine to existing CP track near Belle Plaine. KSPC also completed and additional 14 km of rail line that links CP's new track to a loop at the potash mine’s loading facilities and 6 km of storage track adjacent to its line. This ~20 km of line is owned and will be operated by KSPC.
K+S Potash Canada is committed to contributing to Saskatchewan’s economic growth, being an active part of the community and being a responsible neighbour.
Economic Growth Impacts
Some of the many economic benefits and opportunities of Bethune mine include:
- Increased employment, labour income, tax base and population of surrounding communities
- New tax revenues from the project at all levels of government (local, provincial and national)
- Approximately 300 permanent jobs when in production in 2017
- New business opportunities for Saskatchewan companies supplying goods and services to a major industrial development
Engaging and involving people who could be or are affected by K+S Potash Canada's operations is an important part of our business. Since the initial phases of the Bethune mine (formerly the Legacy Project), building meaningful relationships continues to be a focus.
- The general public (e.g. local communities, communities of interest, landowners, and residents);
- Indigenous communities.
Engagement activities are expected to continue throughout Bethune mine's life. Engagement activities include presentations, community information sessions, group meetings, one-on-one meetings, site visits, supplier development forums and collaboration on contracts and employment with Indigenous communities and individuals.
If you have questions or concerns about Bethune mine, please call the K+S Community Hotline at
1-855-385-8686 ext. 2999
K+S takes the long view on any project, in the interest of protecting both people and the environment.
K+S Potash Canada strives to develop our projects and conduct operations according to the foundational principle that the requirements of economic success, scheduling and development must always be in balance with the prerequisites of health, safety, and the environment. We consider the full lifecycle of our projects when developing facilities, with the goal of sustainable, future oriented development, protecting local biodiversity and proactively managing health, safety and environmental outcomes for the benefit of all stakeholders and the community at large. We seek to do this by identifying and assessing potential interactions of our business with people and the environment, applying appropriate mitigation measures, and actively monitoring and managing our operations at all stages. We also strive to continually improve our processes over time.
What is Solution Mining?
Solution mining is the process of mining underground water-soluble minerals by dissolving the minerals with water. The mineral-rich solution (called brine) is then extracted from the ground and the minerals are recovered from it.
For each cavern, two boreholes are directionally-drilled from a pad at the surface so that the wells are spaced about 80m apart at a depth of 1,500m. For the development process, a casing is inserted into each well to enable circulation of water and dissolve minerals first as a sump and finally connect the wells into a single cavern.
At this point, the production process can begin. Hot water is continuously pumped down one well, where it continues to dissolve the minerals into sodium chloride and potassium chloride-rich brine, which is pushed up the second well to the surface.
Once on the surface, the brine is processed at our facility. Using the differences in solubility for sodium and potassium chloride, the brine is concentrated and salt and potash subsequently crystallized through evaporation and vacuum cooling crystallization. The final products are finished in the dry plant, before they go to storage and train loading. As the solution mining process is water-and-energy-intensive, great efforts have been taken to conserve and re-use as much of the natural resources as possible.
The Legacy Project Timeline
Use the timeline below to learn more about The Legacy Project, from its start right up to the most current event. Be sure to check back for updates in the future.
Acquisition Potash One (incl. approved Environmental Impact Statement and further exploration licenses)
Completion of Feasibility Study Review
Site presence established, incl. access roads, construction power etc.
Ground Breaking Ceremony at the Legacy Site
Water supply from Buffalo Pound Lake operational
Contract for design/supply of core equipment of the Evaporation, Crystallization & Clarification plant with Veolia Water Tech.
Start of the long-term drilling program; development of first cavern ongoing
Start of the main construction program, incl. earthworks, first piling activities, as well as plant site & offsite utility (e.g. gas supply) works
Drilling of the first two production pads (2 x 18 wells) completed
Rail contract with Canadian Pacific signed
Completion of Basic Engineering for all areas of the project
Piling & foundation work is starting site wide: first steel structures for facilities needed for development of production caverns
Test cavern successfully connected; Contract for Detailed Engineering and Project Management with AMEC
Detailed Engineering at its peak; plant construction is ramping-up significantly: ~ 900 people on site (thereof approx. 750 contractors); structures will begin to take shape
Development of production caverns starts
Plant reaches full construction: ~ 1,700 people on site (thereof approx. 1,500 contractors); main buildings erected, work starts inside the buildings; rail construction begins offsite; cavern development is in full swing
Construction of port facilities nears completion
On May 2, 2017, K+S Potash Canada celebrated the Grand Opening of the Bethune mine.
End of the year
K+S projects to reach the two-million-tonnes-mark of production capacity at Bethune mine by the end of 2017.