SASKATCHEWAN – K+S Potash Canada
together with the government of Saskatchewan and the Nature Conservatory of Canada have created a grassland habitat offset valued at close to $1 million. The objective is to achieve “no net loss” of native grasslands as a result of the development of K+S’s Legacy potash project near Bethune.
K+S is spending as much as $4.1 billion developing a solution mine and plant. Commissioning is underway, and commercial production of 2 million t/y should be reached next year.
In 2010, K+S committed to offset natural grasslands affected by the project. But calculating the appropriate offset is not simple. Governments and stakeholders have struggled to create fair compensation schemes that recognize that some habitats are more valuable than others and like-for-like or area-for-area doesn’t necessarily provide the best environmental outcome or use of resources. The formula-based approach tested at K+S’s Legacy mine site estimates functional loss and required offsets using a system of debits-and-credits. The formula includes, among other things, the effect of development on species of concern and the effect of breaking up connected habitat.
In the case of the Legacy mine, this means that the 194 hectares of grasslands that have been impacted will be off-set by conserving an estimated 402 hectares of high value grassland. The plan enables Nature Conservancy to invest K+S funding where it will provide the greatest conservation value possible.
More about the grassland offset program is highlighted at www.KS-PotashCanada.com.