Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Could those Potash Terminal plans for Prince Rupert get dusted off?

With expansion of the potash industry in Saskatchewan
Prince Rupert's potential as an export terminal may soon
once again catch some attention from industry officials

(map from PRPA Annual Public Meeting)

A new development of potash resources in Northern Saskatchewan is attracting some significant investment and with that could be the first whispers for additional shipment infrastructure for the Northern Gateway to the world.

CN Rail provided the first glimpse into a new Saskatchewan facility which they plan to provide rail  service for, an additional transportation network that will increase the volume of potash product for global markets.

The project one to be completed by September 2025

As an industrial trade publication points out, there currently is no potash shipment facility in Prince Rupert, with North Vancouver the main shipment point in British Columbia.

But as we once saw, the potential for such a development in Prince Rupert came pretty close to development more than fifteen years ago.

The excitement over the days of Canpotex began with some rumblings in May of 2008 that the Saskatchewan based agricultural giant was considering a terminal facility in Prince Rupert.

The proposed project of the time one that dates back to the first term for current Mayor Herb Pond, who was among those leading the charge in those early days to attract the company to Prince Rupert. 

Then as it is today, the City was looking to add to the industrial base and increase employment and revenue options in the community.

The story ebbed and flowed for close to a decade with false starts and studies, a roller coaster of anticipation and much in the way of public commentary at the time.

In pursuit of Potash

We again picked up the trail of percolating Potash rumours in 2013, archiving those notes here.

Financial issues for the company and economic headwinds in the end seemed to doom the proposed development. With the Canpotex story reaching its final conclusion in June of 2016 with the Agricultural giant observing it had abandoned its plans for a terminal in Prince Rupert.

However, it could be that everything old may yet be new again.

There is clearly land available within the Port's footprint for a Potash facility and one might even be of some interest for the City of Prince Rupert and it's available space on Watson Island

The latter a place which hasn't had much in the way of announcements since Pembina scaled down on their expansion plans in late 2022.

As the industry continues to grow in Saskatchewan, along with a significant CN Rail investment towards infrastructure, the prospect of a new proposal for the Northwest Gateway may yet deliver a rerun of the anticipation for a new industrial partner on the waterfront in our future.

More notes on Port infrastructure in Prince Rupert can be reviewed here.

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