Mosaic’s $6 billion potash expansion program is planned to bolster annual operating capacity by five million tonnes — more than 40 percent — in a decade.
“We have the largest potash mine in the world here at Esterhazy, and we’re investing in its growth. Every action we take is significant,” said Paul McMillen, Esterhazy Expansion Program Manager for Mosaic’s Potash operations in Saskatchewan. McMillen, along with leaders like Gerry Couture, Vice President of Engineering and Expansion, share a special sense of pride in leading the initiatives to unlock Mosaic’s exceptional potash reserves — a century’s worth — and help transform the company in the process.
Mosaic’s $6 billion potash expansion program, which began in 2008, is planned to bolster annual production capacity by five million tonnes — more than 40 percent — in a decade and solidify our position as one of the largest producers in the world. Couture and McMillen, along with several other project managers, lead the teams and resources to make this happen.
The expansion of Mosaic’s K2 operation at the Esterhazy mine, the largest potash mine in the world, provides a glimpse into the tremendous scope involved. The K2 expansion, just one of a dozen expansion projects, involves $600 million in capital, approximately 150 design engineers across multiple engineering and mining disciplines, and nearly 5,000 contract employees to take the project from initial engineering, through construction and commissioning. The entire process is an exercise in balance on a grand scale.
“That’s where many of our strengths lie,” said Couture. “We have strong project teams with the ability to manage this vast array of talent and resources and blend outside engineering expertise with the unique, even proprietary processes, such as heavy media separation, that we have in potash production. It’s incredibly challenging, but we have the processes and people to be successful.”
How successful? To date, the expansion program, despite a volatile economic climate, is achieving the overall cost and schedule objectives. Employee safety is another good indication. As of May 2012, the expansion program achieved four million hours worked without a lost-time incident.