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Farmers rely on potash, a nutrient found in fertilizer, to grow food. As a leading producer of this basic resource, our client helps farmers feed families all over the globe. To continue to meet this worldwide demand, our client had to upgrade their hoisting plant and grow their mining operation. We worked with their team to increase their production capacity through a record-breaking hoist plant design.

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Horsepower of hoist system

The hoisting plant has the same horsepower as 21 Ferraris and uses it to hoist approximately 40% more material from the ground every hour.

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Headframe’s height (feet)

The top of the headframe measures 314 feet (95.7 metres) above grade. This structure is taller than the Statue of Liberty (305 feet/93 metres) and was the tallest of its kind at the time of construction.

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Percent increase in production

Since the project’s completion, potash production has increased at our client’s mine by approximately 40%.

Transcript of the video follows
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<p>Our client wanted to increase production from its potash mining operation. Hoisting that much potash meant they required larger skips and a redesigned loading system to accommodate them. Traditional loading systems feed ore into a measuring flask. Once full, the flask dumps its entire load into the skip which is then hoisted above the ground. This type of system is harder on the hoisting equipment and can lead to higher maintenance costs and production disruptions. Filling a larger skip quickly and efficiently would require a larger measuring flask system. However, the existing mine shaft and loading pocket couldn’t accommodate a larger flask. The solution? We eliminated the measuring flask, replacing a conventional conveyor with a high-speed load out conveyor which weighs the ore while in motion. When ore fills the conveyor, the transfer chutes guide ore into the larger skip, resulting in a smoother, steadier loading process. When the larger skip is full, it’s hoisted to the surface. With the enhanced system, our client has improved cycle times and increased production.</p>

Sizing up the situation

Our client had a clear goal: drastically increase production. To do that, we needed more power. This power would come in the form of a bigger hoisting system.

But in order to accommodate this bigger, more powerful equipment, we had to reach higher. So we engineered a unique headframe to support the larger equipment. Our headframe would be 95.7 metres high (314 feet)—the world’s tallest at the time.

This taller, more powerful system is now used by our client to bring 40% more potash out of the ground—a massive production boost.

Traditional Headframe
Traditional Headframe
A-Frame Headframe
A-Frame Headframe

Give us an "A"

Designing a towering headframe is one thing. Constructing it with minimal disruption to our client’s operations is a whole other challenge. Our answer? Design the headframe so it would wrap around the existing, operational mine shaft while the headframe is being built. And, instead of using a traditional rectangular structure like our client’s original headframe, we designed an A-frame headframe. This A-shape design provided the strength and stability needed to support the height, was less costly to construct, and is a safer, more solid structure.

Design beyond borders

We reached out to our Stantec community across North America to collaborate on this first-of-its-kind design. Our partnership involved over 117 Stantec team members from nine offices.

Through our team effort, we’ve helped our client maintain their position as a leading worldwide provider of potash. Not only have we helped revolutionize the potash industry, but we’re also helping supply more fertilizer to farmers, which means more food to feed families.

Since designing what was “the world’s tallest headframe,” we’ve continued to learn, evolve, and improve. Today, we’ve broken our own height record and constructed a headframe of 118 metres (387 feet). Now we have a best practice we can adapt, optimize, and deliver to mining clients around the world.

Where we helped, why we're proud

“The sheer scale of this work is impressive. The skip alone was the equivalent height of two city buses stacked end to end.”

Jason Morrow, Hoisting Consultant

“It makes me proud to have helped foster great working relationships with four service providers and our client. We all worked together in sync. That takes dedication to communication and collaboration.”

Rich Saccany, Senior Consultant

“To be involved in such a ground-breaking project was exciting. It was exhilarating to conquer the challenge of designing the first-of-its-kind headframe in Canada, and to witness the efforts of our team to make this a reality.”

Timo Tikka, Senior Consultant

“As a result of this project, we created a to-do list for designing similar A-frames for other clients. This has been an invaluable experience.”

Fang Qian, Intermediate Structural Engineer

“This was a world-class project. Our talent and execution plan will serve as a recognized standard for years to come.”

Noel Morin, Construction Specialist

“I was the design team lead for this very challenging project. Designing this headframe and seeing it complete was truly a team effort.”

Dave Greenfield, Project Specialist

We're better together

Our work begins at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships. With a long-term commitment to the people and places we serve, we have the unique ability to connect to projects on a personal level and advance the quality of life in communities across the globe.

Rich Saccany
Senior Consultant, Mining
Rich Saccany
Senior Consultant, Mining

Projects are like puzzles. My objective is to make sure all the pieces come together.… Read More

Timo Tikka
Senior Consultant
Timo Tikka
Senior Consultant

The best thing about each project is the new challenges that come with them.… Read More

Brian Mashford
Senior Principal, Discipline Leader, Mining (Engineering)
Brian Mashford
Senior Principal, Discipline Leader, Mining (Engineering)

My ultimate goal as a leader is to work smart, hard and strategically, that way I have more than enough to give to and share with others.… Read More

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