Industrial Minerals

Deposits & Occurrences - Phanerozoic



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Click to enlarge image of Potash samples

Potash samples


Potash is contained within the Devonian Prairie Evaporite. The potash deposits, composed of a mixture of sylvite and halite, with minor carnallite and less than 1% green clay, are one of the "cleanest" in western Canada (Bannatyne, 1971). A 1987 comprehensive feasibility study of the Manitoba Potash Project concluded that probable mineable ore reserves are 164.7 million tonnes grading 24.5% K2O (as sylvite) at a depth of 852 m (Canamax Resources Inc., Annual Report, 1988).

South of the Manitoba Potash Project, Prairie Potash Mines Limited drilled 15 test holes between August 1964 and March 1966. Mineable reserves were estimated at 168.7 million tonnes averaging 21.7% K2O (as sylvite) over an average thickness of 2.2 m (Augustus Mines Limited, Annual Report, 1966).

Potash deposits occur within the Devonian Prairie Evaporite in southwestern Manitoba. The Esterhazy and White Bear members are the potash beds that extend eastward into Manitoba from Saskatchewan. The known area of potash occurrence in Manitoba can be subdivided into three subareas:

  1. the Russell-McAuley area, covering townships 14 to 21, ranges 27 to 29W1;
  2. the Daly-Sinclair area, covering townships 5 to 11, ranges 27 to 29W1; and
  3. the Pierson area, occurring in township 1, range 28W1.

These are separated from the others by broad areas with no potash occurrence in the Prairie Evaporite. The only area that has been actively explored for potash is the Russell-McAuley area, where the Esterhazy Member is of sufficient thickness and grade to sustain potentially economic underground potash mining. The Daly-Sinclair and Pierson areas have not been explored due to the development of petroleum resources, which precludes the co-development of potash resources. Accordingly, there are no resource estimates for these areas. See Nicolas, 2015 and Nicolas, 2016 for more detailed information.

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