Potash is a term generally applied to the naturally occurring salts of potassium. Potash deposits discovered in New Brunswick occur in association with Early Carboniferous marine evaporites underlying the southeastern part of the Maritimes Basin. Potash ore mined near Sussex comprises a mixture of potassium chloride (sylvite) and sodium chloride (halite). Virtually all of the world’s production of potash is used as an essential component of fertilizer to increase crop yield.
Tenure for the exploration of Crown-owned minerals in New Brunswick is normally acquired through an electronic mineral-claims registration process in accordance with the Mining Act. Potash and salt, however, have been withdrawn from prospecting and registration of mineral claims, and the exploration rights are issued through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process followed by an agreement under Section 25 of the Mining Act. The RFP process can be initiated through an expression of interest to the Minister of Energy and Resource Development; however, the Minister is under no obligation to proceed with a RFP as a result of an expression of interest. The Minister may also initiate a RFP without an expression of interest, if deemed appropriate.
The Geological Surveys Branch (GSB) of the Department of Energy and Resource Development advises industry about New Brunswick’s potash potential and favourable geological environments for exploration. The GSB conducts fieldwork and produces maps and other publications about the geology, development, and production of New Brunswick’s potash resources.