THE Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) is currently considering an application from Canadian National (CN) to build a 47km line that would serve the new potash mine that BHP Canada is developing near Jansen in Saskatchewan.

The new line would run from near Nokomis on CN’s Winnipeg - Saskatoon main line, heading northwards towards Jansen on CPKC’s Winnipeg - Saskatoon line, which it would cross by means of a diamond crossing.

The new CN line would then connect with the Joint Access Spur (JAS) that BHP is building to provide both CN and CPKC with rail access to the Jansen mine site.

CN is currently planning to initially operate up to four trains a week on its new line, although CTA says that “the daily train volumes by time of day have not been established with certainty by the applicant.”

Trains are expected to consist of up to 177 hopper wagons, operating at up to 40km/h.

Photo Credit: Canadian National

CTA has conducted public consultation on CN’s application, inviting the submission of written comments by March 29.

As a result of the extensive consultation undertaken by CN before submitting its application, as well as the evidence provided of local support, CTA’s public consultation period ran for 30 calendar days rather than the usual 30 working days.

Once CTA approval is granted, CN’s proposed construction schedule would see earthworks starting later this year, followed by tracklaying and the installation of signalling in August 2024.

BHP Canada expects to begin production under Stage 1 of its Jansen mine project in late 2026, with initial output forecast at 4.35 million tonnes of potash a year that will be supplied to customers around the world for the production of fertiliser.

Stage 1 involves total investment of $C 7.5bn ($US 5.5bn), according to BHP.

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