Characterization of insoluble minerals in the conventional potash mines of Saskatchewan: Implications for the origin and paragenesis of the Prairie Evaporite Formation

Potash, a group of potassium bearing minerals, is an essential crop nutrient. The use of potash-based fertilizers increases crop yields while making plants more resistant to extreme climate and disease. It is essential to meeting the food needs of the growing human population. Canada-based Nutrien Ltd. extracts potash from underground mines across Saskatchewan and is the largest producer in the world. The potash deposits Nutrien mines formed in a vast salty sea that stretched across western Canada 385 million years ago. Nowhere do analogous potash deposits form on the planet today. Understanding their origin requires detailed description of the potash rocks, which are found deep beneath the Canadian prairies. This project will conduct high-resolution sampling within Nutrien’s mines followed by high-precision analytical work to further characterize and understand their origin. The results will ensure Nutrien is able to continue efficiently mining Saskatchewan’s potash, which is among the highest quality on the planet.

Faculty Supervisor:

Peir Pufahl;Lee Groat;Danielle Faris


Edward James Matheson;Eric Tessier









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