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Solution mining technique improves potash yields

By Scott Jenkins |

A new patent-pending solution-mining technique known as SMER (selective mining with enhanced recovery), developed by Innovare Technologies Ltd. (Carlyle, Sask.; www.innovaretechnologies.ca), can increase yields of potash (potassium chloride; KCl) and achieve lower operating and capital costs compared to traditional potash solution-mining methods. Potash is a global commodity chemical used primarily as a fertilizer to improve crop yields. It can be found naturally as pure KCl, known as the mineral sylvite, but is most often found as a dual ore deposit with sodium chloride (NaCl) and is known as sylvinite. Potash is typically recovered by primary solution mining, where heated water is injected into a drilled mine cavern to dissolve both KCl and NaCl. KCl is isolated from the returning brine solution with an evaporative crystallizer. Typically, recovered NaCl is stockpiled on the surface and can become an environmental legacy. In conjunction, caverns in which primary mining has been performed also undergo secondary mining with brine that contains a depleted level of KCl and a close-to-saturation concentration of NaCl. This secondary-mining technique is designed to leave NaCl behind, while extracting the desired KCl. Innovare’s SMER…
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