A community east of Saskatoon is preparing for a boom
A community east of Saskatoon is preparing for a boom.
Leroy is the largest town closest to what could be the largest potash development in Saskatchewan's history.
The Jansen Project and its status was a key point of dispute between BHP Billiton and PotashCorp during the attempted takeover of PotashCorp last year. But BHP Billiton has now moved the project into the next stage, ordering a feasibility study.
Mayor Morris Hartman says the project has stirred up excitement in the town. "We've had a lot of excitement going on with the new BHP project."
After watching Lanigan and other communities prosper, Hartman says now it's time for the town of Leroy to get its share of the pie.
"We've relied on agriculture up to this point quite heavily and now mining will be our next portion."
The future has been staked out -- a new subdivision with 35 lots is under development. Five more houses are expected to start in the spring with another 90 apartments planned. Fourteen new suites will be ready in a couple of weeks and that's just the beginning.
"Basically this is just the first phase. We're looking at developing more lots and hopefully within the next couple of years we will be able to house another 300 people if we possibly can," said Hartman.
Hartman also said the town has upgraded its water and sewer. "We have a new plant with reverse osmosis so the whole community is on that which is a bonus and a plus. And we've done our lagoon systems so I think we're fairly well positioned to take on a fairly big expansion."
The mayor hopes all the activity will attract more business to the town of 500 as well as offices for the new mine.
At the mine site about 10 kilometers southeast of town, drilling and site preparation is underway. Then, the ground will be frozen to make an easier job of sinking the mine shafts. On the current schedule BHP hopes it can start mining its 3.4 million tonne resource sometime in 2015.