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K+S Potash one step closer to production with rail car delivery

With the delivery of custom built rail cars, K+S Potash Canada moves closer to starting production at the first new potash mine in Saskatchewan in over 40 years.
With the delivery of custom built rail cars, K+S Potash Canada moves closer to starting production at the first new potash mine in Saskatchewan in over 40 years. Supplied / K+S Potash Canada

K+S Potash Canada (KSPC) has moved one step closer to starting production at its Bethune, Sask. legacy project.

The Saskatoon-based company has taken delivery of 177 rail cars, which will be used to transport potash from the mine to its handling and storage facility in Port Moody, B.C.

“The arrival of these rail cars demonstrates how close we are to production, which is expected to begin in the second quarter this year,” Dr. Ulrich Lamp, president and CEO of KSPC, said in a statement.

“To see them here, branded with our company name and ready to carry our first marketable product, is really exciting.”

READ MORE: K+S Potash Canada mine near Bethune, Sask. nears completion

Company officials said the 177 custom built rail cars are enough to complete one of three trains to transport its product.

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The company has ordered 531 rail cars in total, which were designed by National Steel Car.

The cars can be loaded while in motion and although slightly shorter in length than a regular rail car, hold the same amount of volume.

“Once the trains arrive at our facility in Port Moody, they will be unloaded by automatic conveyor to our warehouse or directly onto a ship at one of the world’s most modern potash handling facilities,” Steffen Brill, the senior manager for logistics and transportation, said.

“From there, they’ll be shipped to regions worldwide.”

Brill added that while the initial order for rail cars will meet their initial weekly requirements, more will be needed as production ramps up.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan tops ranking for mining investment: Fraser Institute

Canadian Pacific (CP) recently completed a 30 kilometre subdivision at Belle Plaine, Sask., which will connect the mine to its main line.

“The construction of the Belle Plaine subdivision is the largest single rail infrastructure project in CP’s recent history,” Keith Creel, president and CEO of CP, said.

“We are thrilled to be the exclusive rail provider to Saskatchewan’s first potash mine in more than 40 years, providing the most modern rail infrastructure of all of the Saskatchewan potash mines.”

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The $4.1 billion mine is expected to produce two-million tonnes of potash yearly once at full capacity.