Mine tour an eye-opening experience

With Rocanville being the largest potash mine among Nutrien’s six potash mines in Saskatchewan, it was fascinating to learn about the work that goes on behind the scenes of mining.

It was an incredible experience going underground and touring the Nutrien Rocanville Potash facility.

With Rocanville being the largest potash mine among Nutrien’s six potash mines in Saskatchewan, it was fascinating to learn about the work that goes on behind the scenes of mining.

We took a shaft that brought us one kilometre underground to the mine, then by the end of the tour we went to the top of the salt pile (which is 60 meters high) where we could see the entire mine site. It was stunning.

I was overloaded with information about how the potash is mined underground, how it gets transferred from the different sites for it to be milled, seeing how it gets ready for shipment, for it then to be loaded into the trains.

The Rocanville mine alone produces 20,000 tonnes of high-quality potash a day.

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The entire process was amazing to see. What caught my eye the most was how big the mine underground is. 

Our tour guides, Justin Young and Jacob Burton, said Rocanville’s mine site is the same size as the city of Calgary. I always try to picture it when driving from Moosomin to Rocanville, but could never truly imagine it.

When we went underground to the mine, it took us 20 minutes by car to get from the shaft to one of the closest miners at the site. (There are 15 different miners underground at the Rocanville mine). 

Even though we could only travel 40 km/hr, it felt like we were going fast with all of the different twists and turns underground. Plus the top of the mine is not even a foot above your head when driving, which made it even more exciting.

It was also great to hear how passionate Justin and Jacob were about the mine when they would explain the different responsibilities people had for working underground. I could tell how much they enjoyed the jobs they do, and the community of people they work with. 

With all of the people who work underground—yet we only saw a few people during the tour because of how big the mine is—they knew everyone’s names. 

It made me think about the number of people in the area—and across the province—who are employed because of the mine, and how many people have an idea of the industry because of how important it is to communities in the southeast. 

Yet, it made me question just how many people know the amount of work that goes into mining.

I feel that until you go underground and visit a mine site for yourself, you don’t realize how important the mining industry really is to the province.

Saskatchewan takes in billions in royalties from mining every year. That is a huge contribution to the province, but if you don’t work at the mine yourself or if you don’t know of someone who works in the industry, then you probably would not carry the same appreciation for the work as someone who does. 

Another interesting part I picked up from the tour is how environmentally friendly and clean the mining industry is. 

The advanced technology they use underground and at the mill was impressive to see. Even seeing how resourceful their policies are, and how NSC uses the salt byproduct for road salt and other purposes. 

With the mining industry being one of the two most appreciated fields of work in the southeast—agriculture being the other—I’m grateful I had the opportunity to tour one of the mine sites.

This story was originally published in The World-SpectatorIt is republished under a Creative Commons license as part of the Local Journalism Initiative.

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