SUSSEX (CNB) – The provincial government today signed an agreement awarding Atlantic Potash Corp. of Saint John the right to explore and develop a confirmed potash deposit near Sussex. The announcement was made by Premier David Alward and Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup.

"The Millstream potash deposit is the only remaining confirmed potash deposit in New Brunswick that has yet to be commercially developed,'' said Alward. "If exploration by Atlantic Potash Corp. confirms this is an economically viable deposit, developing a new mine would mean hundreds of jobs and generate much-needed revenue to help pay for health care, education and other public services.''

A Request for Proposals to explore the Millstream deposit was issued in April and two submissions were received.

"In the request for proposals, we said we would give particular importance to any proponent that agreed to carry out additional refining or value-added production within the province,'' said Alward. "In addition to committing $4.5 million to explore the Millstream deposit, Atlantic Potash Corp. is also proposing other investments in the province and those will be announced in the near future.''

Alward said Invest NB will work closely with the company to ensure all economic opportunities are realized to their full potential.

Keith Attoe, co-chief executive officer of Atlantic Potash Corp., said the company is excited about the potential for potash development in New Brunswick.

"With growing global demand for potash, particularly in agriculture markets, New Brunswick could benefit significantly if the Millstream deposit reveals commercial quantities of potash," said Attoe. "During the last few months, we have met with people locally and regionally, and we know Sussex has a long-standing history with, and experience in, potash development and agriculture. These are strong resources to build on and we look forward to working with the community, provincial agencies, regulatory bodies and officials as we continue to investigate New Brunswick's potash opportunity.''

Atlantic Potash Corp. is a New Brunswick mineral exploration and development company that is focused on exploring potash development opportunities in southern New Brunswick. As a potential supplier of potash to world markets, particularly potash-based fertilizers to meet growing agriculture demands, the corporation is dedicated to operating in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner, maintaining rigid safety standards, and to benefiting the community.

The Millstream deposit was discovered more than 25 years ago and was explored by BP Resources Canada in the 1980s. It is about 10 kilometres west of Sussex.

The three-year agreement gives the company up to two years to undertake an exploration program. If the deposit proves economically viable, the company would be required to submit a feasibility study and proposed development plan by the end of the third year.

Millstream is one of four known potash deposits in the province, all of which are in the Sussex area. Three of the deposits have already been or are being developed.

"Potash is already big business in our province, with 330 people working at the existing potash mine near Sussex and another 140 full-time jobs coming when an adjacent mine opens next year,'' said Northrup. "Last year, the province earned more than $15 million in royalties from potash production and we expect that will rise to $18 million this year.''
Potash is used primarily by the agricultural sector in blended fertilizers. It is mined in 13 countries and is used in more than 150 nations.