FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government will conduct a resource assessment of the Penobsquis potash deposit.

“Our government believes in the safe and responsible development of our natural resources to help create jobs and grow the economy,” said Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault. “As responsible managers of our province’s resources, we have an obligation to review and fully understand what, if any, potential resource remains in the Penobsquis potash deposit.”

The Department of Energy and Mines is working to finalize a contract to hire a third-party consultant to carry out an assessment of any remnant potash resource and its potential for development in the event potash prices recover to suitable levels. It is anticipated that the assessment will take several months to complete. More details will be provided once the contract is finalized.

“It is no secret that many of the residents of Penobsquis and the greater Sussex region have been hard hit by the recent mine closure,” said Fundy Royal MP Alaina Lockhart. “I thank the provincial government for doing its due diligence on this file to ensure that all possibilities are understood before moving forward.”

Earlier this month the PotashCorp of Saskatchewan registered for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to decommission the mine. However, the Crown is responsible for all minerals, as defined in the Mining Act, and believes that a thorough resource assessment should be done before decommissioning the mine, subject to the EIA approval.