FREDERICTON (CNB) – The provincial government today issued a request for proposals to explore and develop a confirmed potash deposit near Sussex. The announcement was made by Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup.

"The Millstream potash deposit is the only remaining confirmed potash deposit in New Brunswick that has yet to be developed, and we believe there will be strong interest by industry in gaining access to this resource,'' said Northrup. "If further exploration confirms this is an economically viable deposit, developing a new mine would mean hundreds of jobs and generate much-needed revenue for the province.''

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.

Past exploration by government and private-sector companies resulted in four major potash discoveries, all in the Sussex area. Three of these deposits have already been or are being developed. The Millstream deposit is the fourth confirmed deposit.

Potash is primarily used by the agricultural sector in blended fertilizers. Potash is mined in 13 countries and is used in more than 150 nations.

"Both the demand and price for potash is very strong, which makes this an opportune time to make the Millstream deposit available for further exploration and possible development,'' said Northrup.

The request for proposals invites interested parties to submit plans to carry out further assessment of the Millstream deposit and eventually develop potash and/or related evaporite mineral deposits in the area.

Northrup said the provincial government wants to maximize the benefits of this resource to New Brunswickers. In addition to paying the province normal royalties, interested parties are being asked to propose a share of profits they would also contribute to the province.

"We will also give particular importance to any proponent that agrees to carry out additional refining or value-added production within the province,'' Northrup said. "This additional activity would result in more jobs, which is our primary interest.''

The provincial government is offering to enter into an agreement for three years. The successful proponent would have two years to undertake an exploration program. If the deposit proves economically viable, the proponent would be required to submit a feasibility study and proposed development plan by the end of the third year.

The request for proposals is online. Submissions must be received by 3:30 p.m. on June 6.


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