Order of Magnitude Study

Rio Tinto Industrial Minerals (Rio Tinto) commissioned Agapito Associates, Inc. (AAI), to conduct the Order of Magnitude (OoM) study for solution mining within Rio Tinto’s exploration Permit Areas in Saskatchewan located to the East of Regina.  The study included:

  • Establish design criteria  for cavern design
  • Evaluate the potential impacts of geological anomalies
  • Evaluate available rock mechanics data from literature sources and internal data
  • Identify data needs from the drilling program, definition of core needs, and laboratory testing scope 
  • Review stratigraphy and range of potash, halite, and overlying bed thicknesses 
  • Review rock mechanics data from potash, halite, and overlying stratigraphy 
  • Establish ranges of depth, thicknesses, material properties, and ground and operating temperatures 
  • Review data from the drilling program, down-hole logs, core recovery, test results, etc. 
  • Establish cavern shape and spacing options 
  • Evaluate pillar deformation, cavern convergence, and subsidence for assumed geometries and properties 
  • Evaluate casing loads
  • Select cavern and pillar size to be utilized in OoM cavern layout
  • Estimate cavern recovery and planned production per cavern
  • Evaluate subsidence impacts

The area of interest was characterized by historical core holes, nearby oil and gas exploration wells, and two-dimensional (2D) seismic surveys.  An Initial Mine Area was delineated to preliminarily establish a cavern field which could sustain up to a 40-year operation. 

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