Federal regulators are asking for public input to assist in making a decision on whether they need to undertake an environmental assessment for the proposed Muskowekwan Potash Mine Project in Saskatchewan.
First Potash Ventures (FPV), a joint venture between Encanto Resources Ltd., Muskowekwan First Nation (MFN), and Muskowekwan Resources Limited (MRL), are proposing to develop a potash mine about 100 kilometres northeast of Regina.
The project, which will be developed on the Muskowekwan Reserve, Treaty Land Entitlement and pre-reserve lands, would be a solution mine that produces about 2.8 million tonnes of potash per year for at least 50 years.
Solution mining is the method by which potash is extracted from underground deposits using wells and circulating fluids instead of shafts from conventional underground mining.
Initial project activities during construction will consist of clearing, grubbing, excavation and grading for the processing plant.
The project involves the construction of administrative buildings, processing facilities, maintenance shop, product storage and load-out buildings, fuel and hazardous substances storage, and other buildings.
Construction will also include the preparation of roadbeds, development of well production pads and associated infrastructure, such as service roads, pipelines and power lines, preliminary cavern development, the drilling and development of temporary groundwater supply wells, erection of an electrical distribution and co-generation plant, and other ancillary facilities.
During construction, temporary infrastructure, including a labour camp for up to 1,000 construction employees, will be assembled on-site.
The joint venture agreement between the FPV partners guarantees preferential employment and contracting opportunities to the MFN, as well as other economic benefits.
As part of the new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) must determine whether a federal environmental assessment is required for the project.
The deadline for submitting written comments was Jan. 3, 2013.
The CEAA will post a decision on its website stating whether a federal environmental assessment is required.
If it’s determined that a federal environmental assessment is needed, the public will have three more opportunities to comment on the project.
A conceptual decommissioning and reclamation plan will be developed during detailed engineering and permitting, and will outline how lands disturbed by mining activities will be reclaimed to a condition compatible with neighbouring land uses.
MRL is an economic development company of MFN, incorporated in 2009, based in Lestock, Sask.
Encanto is a subsidiary of Encanto Potash Corp, a Canadian potash exploration company, with offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Regina.
MFN and MRL participate on the project management committee and provide land and resource access, while Encanto provides financing, technical and management expertise.