Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
I heard that your company was restructured. What’s going on?
Western Potash completed a Plan of Arrangement in March 2017. As a result, Western Resources became the parent company and is now traded on the TSX under the symbol of WRX. Western Potash is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Resources. The Milestone Project will be developed through Western Potash. This restructuring allows Western Resources to diversify its assets while keeping Western Potash focused solely on potash projects. The bonus for Saskatchewan is that Regina is now the headquarters for Western Potash.
Why is the share price low?
We are very aware that the share price is causing some concerns (most of us are shareholders too!). The whole team is focused on delivering value to the shareholders, and we are working hard to make it happen. Right now, it is a difficult time in the whole commodity cycle, including potash. However, the fundamentals of potash business remain strong, and therefore we believe in the long-term strength of potash industry. A recovery will take time. This is the main reason why we refocused from a large conventional potash solution mine, to the Phase I selective horizontal solution mine with a much lower CAPEX per tonne and competitive OPEX to demonstrate innovative technology.
It is also quite typical for a company transitioning from exploration to production to experience a low in the share price just before it goes into operation. This low is known as the “mining share price life cycle curve”. We believe we are in a much better position than most other peer companies as we have a very strong cash reserve, which we are leveraging to move into the next phase. The management team is also working diligently to control any discretionary expenses and diversify the company business to spread the risk of owning one world-class potash project, and provide some other income streams. It may take a bit more time for the market to truly appreciate the value and potentials of Western Resources. We have no doubt that there is a large upside in the market capitalization based on our cash reserve and world-class potash project.
What is the status of the project?
The Phase 1 Project is already 83% complete in the overall status. It has completed engineering, procurement, construction of infrastructure, crystallization pond, electrical distribution systems, brine heating and pumping systems to support operation of commercial solution mining. A significant portion of the balance of plant including the Process Plant, Compaction and Loadout has also been constructed, with only limited equipment still to be delivered and installed. The unfinished portion does not affect the on-going solution mining operations.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic issues on a global scale and as a result delayed our ability to complete the final tranche of funding as previously planned; this has slowed down our ability to complete construction for the balance of the plant. The Company continues working with potential investors to complete the final tranche of funding, as well as pursuing alternative sources of financing for the completion of the remaining construction. Nevertheless, the Company will continue the operation of full-scale hot mining to consistently build up inventory of potash in the crystallization pond, getting ready for harvesting by the end of the year.
There are so many projects in different stages, we are sick of hearing about them and feel like we are wasting our time. Why should this be any different?
We do understand that people in this area have been hearing about many different projects from many different companies over the last 8 to 10 years. What makes our project different is that we have re-envisioned potash solution mining so that this project is profitable even under the current low market potash prices. Other projects are looking at very large, extremely capital intensive plants based on decades old technology. This Phase I Project objective is to bring value and profits to our shareholders even in this low economic climate, by applying an innovative new technology that offers a much lower CAPEX and OPEX per tonne.
How is Western Potash different from other potash companies in Saskatchewan?
The challenging economic climate has meant innovative solutions are needed to bring a new project to market. What makes our project different - is that we have re-envisioned potash solution mining so that this project is profitable even under the current low market potash prices. This project will be the first greenfield potash project in Saskatchewan and Canada to utilize an innovative new technology, selective horizontal solution mining that offers a much lower CAPEX and OPEX per tonne.
This new technology has many environmental and economic benefits. Selective horizontal solution mining will use half the water of a typical solution mine since “primary mining” is not required. No waste or tailings will be brought to the surface which means there will be no tailings pile above ground. Since our waste remains underground, there will be minimal subsidence (ground slumping). For the Phase I Project, we will be utilizing crystallization ponds, instead of mechanical processes, which will harness the cold Saskatchewan climate to use much less energy, which also reduces the amount of emissions released from our site.
Has this new technique ever been done anywhere else in the world?
While this technology is new to Saskatchewan, it is not new to the industry. Horizontal potash mining has been done before in Turkey and the United States. It has also been widely used in oil and gas industry for a few decades. However, the geology in Saskatchewan is different in regards to the depth, composition and structure of the rock. If the Phase I Project proves to be successful, Western Potash could revolutionize the way potash is extracted in Saskatchewan.
If your Phase I is successful, what happens next?
We will know relatively quickly after production begins if this new technique will be proven successful. If we can prove this technology is viable, we will then begin the engineering on Phase II, a proposed 1.4 million tonne per year potash plant. If both the technology and market conditions are favorable, we would then consider Phase II and a further Phase III construction of another 1.4 million tonnes per year.
How will Western Potash benefit the community?
The Milestone Project will provide a range of benefits to the local community, from community sponsorships and local land taxes, to employment and business opportunities, to corporate and potash taxes and royalties.
We partnered with Praxis, an independent third-party consulting firm to determine what exactly our economic benefit would be for Saskatchewan. Based on their economic impact assessment tools, we determined the Phase I Project will inject over $307 million into the economy and will benefit the community at local, regional and provincial levels. These benefits come from direct employment, purchases, taxes and royalties and the increase in GDP, as well as indirect and induced flow on benefits. The below table outlines the benefits expected from the Phase I Project.
What is the road route for construction and operations? Will it be the Kronau grid?
No, the Kronau grid will be avoided. We have worked extensively with the RM of Lajord Council to determine a route that will have minimal impact on the community. Construction and maintenance costs related to the roads will be the responsibility of the company.
How many vehicles can I expect to see on your road route?
Our traffic projections for the construction phase are an average of 10 - 20 heavy trucks per workday with a peak of 50 deliveries per workday for three months. About 70% of site deliveries will be aggregates, earthworks and bulk materials. Peak labour will be 140 people for three months. An average of 30 - 40 light vehicles during construction with a peak of 55 - 60 vehicles per day. During the operations phase the community can expect a significant reduction in the amount of traffic. During operations only 12 trucks hauling potash per workday (and 12 empty trucks returning), and only 25 employees will be driving light vehicles.
Where will you be getting your water from? I’m concerned about my water supply well being depleted or contaminated.
Western Potash will not be getting its water from a drinking or irrigation aquifer. Instead, we will be getting our water supply from a deep well (~700m) in the Mannville aquifer which contains brackish (salt) water. This water is not suitable for drinking and will be transported a short distance to the site via a pipeline.
We will ensure that any shallow fresh water aquifers (typically in the first 50 meters) are safe by casing and cementing our well in place, as is the required procedure.
Our crystallization pond will use a compacted clay liner, one of the best natural containers for brine (and in plentiful supply in the local area). We will also have monitoring wells around our crystallization pond, to ensure none of the brine leaks out (after all this is our valuable product escaping!).
My company would like to be considered when you move into construction. How can I ensure this happens?
Right now, Western Potash is populating a non-approved vendor list. If you would like to be considered when we get the construction approval, please contact Caitlin at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list. Please also provide a brochure or details as to what your company can provide for us.
How can I get a job at Western Potash?
At this time, Western Potash is not looking to expand its project team. However, when construction is approved we will need multiple complex roles filled such as Engineering, Geology, and an Operations team. Engineering role typically require the applicant to be registered within APEGS, and all applicants must be eligible to work in Canada. Potash and solution mining experience will be a definite asset.
If you would like to email your resume to email@example.com to be held on file for future consideration, they will be accepted. Only individuals selected for an interview will be contacted.
How can I sign up for information?
Anyone interested in receiving company updates is encouraged to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and request to be added to the Western Resources email distribution list.
Have a question?
Send us an email at email@example.com.