Two mining companies recently unveiled a discovery of what they consider one of the top tier potash deposits in the world.
Rio Tinto believes it is sitting on the massive potash reserve in Saskatchewan, near the the village of Sedley, 50 kilometers southeast of Regina. The mining giant announced that the KP 405 potash field contains an estimated 329 million tons of potash, ranking it as a Tier 1 discovery.
Potash, a key fertilizer ingredient, is expected to boom as populations and income in emerging economies continue to improve. The potassium-based fertilizer is the seventh most common element on the earth's crust.
Rio Tinto's Russian partner, JSC Acron, announced that there is the potential for a long-life, low-cost mine at the lucrative deposit. North Atlantic Potash CEO David Waugh added that if a three-million ton per year mine was constructed on the site, the deposit would last for more than 100 years.
BHP recently spent an additional $2.6 billion on its Jansen mine, located close to Rio Tinto's claim, over the next few years to gain access to the deposit. Though the development is in its early stages, the discovery marks a big boom in the potash market. The news is still being worked out between the two rival companies, but all figures are nonetheless promising. Moving forward, the companies will decide on the plans to build the solution potash mine.
This monumental find raises the need for an equipment condition monitoring system, which ensures the stability and safety of the mine, employees and profits. Load sensors and other strain gage indicators could further prove essential the development of the new mine, as more heavy equipment will be moved into and utilized in the area.