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NEWS: Massive potash mine planned for Muskowekwan First Nation in Saskatchewan

The Canadian Press reports on a proposed potash mine that would be constructed in the Muskowekwan First Nation – located about 100 kilometres north of Regina – that would use up to 200,000 square metres of groundwater per year, and include a processing plant and a tailings pond to deal with wastewater.

The news article notes, “The joint proposal is being put forward by Encanto Resources Ltd. and the Muskowekwan First Nation under the name First Potash Ventures. …The proposal says construction could begin between 2014 and 2016 (and) begin operating as early as mid 2017.”

In terms of approvals, “The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency says it must decide if a formal review of the mine is needed and people have until Jan. 3 to comment. …Encanto Potash Corp. CEO James Walchuck said he expects the agency will call for a full environmental assessment and is confident it would meet federal and Saskatchewan government regulatory requirements. He said both levels of government are keen on the project. On its website Encanto said partnering with a First Nation located on federally regulated land will provide it with a critical advantage because it will reduce permitting and production timelines. …(The company claims they) are required to only deal with two stakeholders (its First Nation partners and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada) for permitting.”

The mine would reportedly cost $2.4 billion to build, produce up to 2.8 million tonnes of potash a year for up to 50 years, create up to 1,000 construction and 500 mining jobs, and provide royalties of up to $80 million per year for the Muskowekwan First Nation. A November 2010 Regina Leader Post article reported the Muskowekwan will receive three per cent of the profits from the mine.

More on this soon.