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Sask. town located near massive mining project readies for 'influx of people'


BHP's nearly $19 billion potash mine near Jansen is getting resounding approval from Lanigan mayor Tony Mycock.

Lanigan, which is about a 15-minute drive from the mine site, is expected to benefit from the economic boon for the province and the local area after BHP announced plans for a $6.4 billion stage two expansion at the site Tuesday.

"It was pretty exciting," he said. "They've been talking about it for a while and I didn't expect it to happen this quick.

"It's very exciting for our community, the surrounding area and I mean, the province as a whole. This is a huge investment in Saskatchewan."

Tuesday's announcement comes after the Australian mining giant previously committed $7.5 billion for stage one of the project in August 2021 and a pre-stage one investment of $4.9 billion.

"I think Lanigan is poised to grow," Mycock said.

But with that growth comes some concern as well. Mycock says ongoing work at the mine has already exacerbated the town's housing market with very few homes for sale or for rent. He says there's a labour shortage in the area and the town's hospital hasn't fully reopened since it was closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In some ways, it is a little scary because we're not ready," he said.

"We're working with developers on housing and I want to expand our daycare and be ready for this influx of people."

University of Saskatchewan finance professor Abdullah Mamun says at this point it's difficult to calculate what this means for Saskatchewan. However, he's certain it will mean more jobs, more people and more money circulating in the economy as BHP isn't just trying to establish itself in the potash market, but prove they're here to stay.

"They obviously have done their own work," he said. "So obviously there is that demand."

Stage two is going to take roughly six years to build, with production expected to ramp up the following three years.

Stage two will double the mine's capacity to produce 8.5 million tonnes of potash a year.

"It's quite obvious that BHP is not getting into this for immediate (term), but they are trying to build up their capacity to be a major player in the potash market," Mamun said.

Mamun says food security has become even more important with Russia, Belarus and Israel -- three potash-rich areas of the world -- currently involved in war, making Saskatchewan an attractive place to invest as insecurity rose potash to over $1,000 USD a tonne this past year.

"That can really help to calm the market," he said. " I think what BHP is doing is building that capacity."

Years away from being one of the closest towns to what could be the world's largest potash mine, Mycock is eager to see what BHP's investment will mean for his community.

"If we can increase our tax base here and provide more services for our residents because of that, I think it's great," he said. Top Stories

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