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Colliers’ Valuation & Advisory Team Helps Bring First Potash Mine to Production in Manitoba

potash producer Hero
Canada is the world’s largest potash producer, accounting for 32% of the world’s total supply in 2020 – with a majority of the supply coming from Saskatchewan, potash has the distinction of being the province’s official mineral. While Saskatchewan is the best-known potash producer in Canada, it is not the only province with a supply: Manitoba accounts for 4% of the world’s supply; however, unlike its neighbour to the west, the Manitoba deposits pose a complex challenge when it comes to extracting the mineral - the deposits lie 800-metres underground. With Saskatchewan’s bigger and more readily accessible deposits nearby, Manitoba’s approval process for developing a mine and extracting the minerals was made lengthy and difficult, working with four successive provincial administrations.
 
Since the project’s inception in 2014, Colliers’ Winnipeg Valuation and Advisory team, consisting of Rocky Neufeld, Senior Director, Property Tax Services; Ashlyn Neufeld, Appraiser, Winnipeg Valuation; Bram Neufeld, Senior Associate, Property Tax Services; Ayrton Neufeld, Senior Associate, Property Tax Services; and a third-party contractor, have been working with The Potash and Agri-Development Corp. of Manitoba (PADCOM) to bring the long-envisioned potash development to fruition. While various individuals and companies had been attempting to determine how to mine potash deposits in Manitoba for over 50 years, with the help of Colliers’ dedicated project team, the Manitoba government has approved the province’s first potash development to begin extraction and production. PADCOM will use a community development model to realize the project, allowing nearby communities to share in the mine profits. 

"This assignment was the most challenging that we have ever undertaken, and in the end, probably the most successful. The Colliers team stepped out of its traditional real estate roles – yet, stayed faithful to our ultimate role of advising and assisting our client,” says Rocky Neufeld.

Highlighting their expertise and in-house advisory approach, the Colliers team drafted briefing papers for the provincial government; provided projections based on a variety of factors to help the client make informed decisions throughout the process; worked with numerous stakeholders, including three First Nations groups in the area, to create a mutually viable mining operation; and ultimately developed an innovative business plan for PADCOM to execute upon. Having worked with PADCOM’s ownership group for more than 20 years and having provided in-house advisory services on several of its projects, the Colliers team has built a long-standing relationship with this client, founded on mutual trust and understanding. 

In addition to the positive economic impact this development presents, the mine’s carbon footprint and capital costs will be decreased because of the surface solution mining process that will be used to extract the mineral from deep below the earth’s surface. PADCOM will also present community benefit agreements to several Indigenous communities in the area, including the Manitoba Métis Federation and the Municipality of Russell-Binscarth, further adding to the benefits of the development. 
 
Over the past eight years, the scope of the project has changed drastically; however, the sentiment and community-focused end goal has been constant throughout the process, enabling the project team to create deep ties within the community, provide innovative solutions, and pivot as required to create meaningful, long-lasting impact for the community of Russell and Manitoba as a whole.