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Before we went down, we had to go up

  • The North K3 headframe towers more than 380 feet above the prairies.
  • This structure houses two massive hoists — the Koepe and Blair. The Koepe has skips that bring potash to the surface from nearly a kilometer underground.
  • The Koepe hoist will move 60-ton skips, capable of lifting 10 million short tons of potash per year.
  • The Blair hoist will carry a cage for people and equipment.

Shaft sinking: a descent through time

  • Mosaic used state-of-the-art-technology like 3D seismic and exploration drilling to study the geology of the K3 mine for years.
  • To reach potash, two 20-foot diameter shafts were built.
  • To sink the shaft, freezing technology is used to control water inflow. A cycle of drilling, blasting and mucking are used to break up each layer.
  • An excavator suspended from a platform, known as Galloway, removes blasted muck with a large bucket and carries it to the surface.

3,350 feet below

On Friday, February 16 at 3,350 feet, the potash zone was reached at K3. This marked a significant milestone for the project and for shaft sinking in Saskatchewan.

From vertical to horizontal

  • Once shaft sinking is complete, mine development begins by first cutting a horizontal pass between the two shafts.
  • Much of the required infrastructure will be added underground, including equipment that will be lowered and reassembled for mine development and future production.

Moving along

On the surface, a conveyor system to transport ore from the new mine to the existing mills at K1 and K2 is underconstruction. Upon completion of K3, Mosaic’s Esterhazy operation is expected to be the largest, most competitive underground potash mine in the world.

K3 demonstrates Mosaic’s commitment to the long-term sustainability of our operations and the vision we have for the future. Mosaic has a long and proud legacy in Esterhazy.