LANIGAN — Nutrien’s Lanigan potash mining operation will reap the benefits of a company-wide, $500 million initiative that seeks a widespread change in the way they operate.
At the 2019 Investors Day event held in Toronto in late May, Nutrien executive vice president and CEO of Potash Susan Jones announced the launch of “Next Generation Potash.” The half-billion dollar investment will develop proprietary systems and technologies to improve safety, increase productivity, reduce expenses and improve the dependability and flexibility of their assets.
“This multi-year investment will absolutely benefit Lanigan as it will impact our entire potash network of six mines in Saskatchewan,” said Nutrien spokesperson, Will Tigley. “Our plans are to design and pilot initiatives in various mine sites in Saskatchewan with the intention to scale proven solutions across the full network.”
“Next Generation Potash’s” schedule will run through the next five years. During that time, the company will update their operational systems by updating network processes and technology; reducing operational variability; and adjusting its production flexibility to meet market demand. It will also look at digitized operations by implementing digital capabilities where applicable. This includes a greater use of big data analytics.
Finally, the company seeks to transform its digital aspect by developing new technologies for autonomous mining, advanced process control, predictive maintenance, real-time worker connectivity, dynamic scheduling and precision ore management.
“Nutrien is the largest underground soft rock operator in the world and as the potash industry leader, we can’t simply set the bar. We need to be continually raising it when it comes to safety, efficiency and reliability,” Tigley said, adding that the Lanigan operation will begin to see changes in these areas in the near future. Work at other Nutrien sites has taken place already, particularly in the areas of autonomous mining, advanced process control and predictive maintenance.
“We know that Lanigan and other sites in the network will be at the centre of technology development and deployment,” he said. “Safety, of course, will remain our top priority. We are committed to creating a safer work environment for our employees by removing potential hazards and taking them out of harm’s way.”
Established in 1963, the Lanigan potash operation today is a continuous, room and pillar mine running about one kilometer underground. As of January 2017, the facility had about eight decades of production capability remaining within the Patience Lake evaporate formation.
Nutrien’s “Next Generation Potash” initiative will run until 2023. The company’s other Saskatchewan operations are located in Allan, Cory, Patience Lake, Rocanville and Vanscoy.