Early involvement of local residents and active dialogue with stakeholders is assuming increasing importance for the success of major building projects. In May, for the first time, K+S Potash Canada invited people living close to the new site to a meeting in order to inform them about the Legacy Project.
The turnout was excellent. About 300 visitors came to the Community Hall in the small town of Bethune in Saskatchewan, close to the future K+S Potash site, to gain first-hand information. “The meeting was a total success and, for us, was one of the first major local events in our communications strategy to develop the new site,” said Richard L. Wilson, President, and CEO of K+S Potash Canada. Apart from Wilson, other K+S representatives addressed and answered questions from the local residents. Topics ranged from questions from residents about possible noise and dust levels during construction work, all the way to information about job opportunities at the new site.
“We want to establish ourselves as good neighbours, so we are keeping people living near the site informed continuously and in good time. It is a key ingredient for building our relationship with the local community,” said Erika Ritchie, who was responsible for organizing the event for K+S Potash Canada.
Several information booths from K+S and its key suppliers, serving as a sort of exhibition, attracted visitors during the three-hour event. In addition to local neighbours and interested persons, the event was also attended by representatives of the local authorities and regional politicians.
K+S is building a new solution mining-based potash mine in Saskatchewan (RM of Dufferin) which is due to commence production in 2015. Initial work on the infrastructure and preparations for drilling has already begun. The review of the available feasibility study should be completed during the second half of 2011. Thanks to the resources available and the environmental permit that has already been issued, the Legacy Project permits a gradual increase in potash production to well over 2.7 million tonnes per year.
Wilson and his team at K+S Potash Canada are already considering further information events. “The clearer and more continuous our communications with customers and other stakeholders, the better we are able to complete the project on schedule. A good relationship with our neighbours is of great importance here”.