A new fertilizer manufacturing facility could be located in Saint John as part of a new potash mine that is being considered in the Millstream area.

Atlantic Potash Corp. signed a two-year agreement with the Department of Natural Resources in December to explore the Millstream potash deposit.

At the time, it was also announced the potash deal could lead to other economic development opportunities in New Brunswick.

Enterprise Saint John Chair Tony Goguen mentioned one of those potential projects at a Saint John council meeting on Monday.

Goguen said the business group is working with Atlantic Potash Corp. on a "downstream manufacturing" project.

But details of the potential project are still tightly under wraps.

"We know that the folks from Atlantic Potash are looking at a value-add component potentially for our community but that hasn't been finalized, nothing's been announced at this stage," Goguen said.

The proposal could include a fertilizer processing plant in Saint John's McAllister Industrial Park.

The project could cost more than $200 million and employ hundreds with construction beginning within the next two years.

Keith Attoe, the co-chief executive officer of Atlantic Potash Corp., said in an email statement on Tuesday that he could not provide any updates on any new projects associated with the potash mine.

"Downstream manufacturing refers to production. Currently, we have no new news on any further production opportunities or what they may be," Attoe said in a statement.

"We are working with various government agencies to look into potential opportunities and will continue to do so as we move forward with the exploration of the Millstream potash deposit. A lot will depend on how much potash is available, so we’ll know more once we get a sense for the quantities that are there."

Millstream project

Atlantic Potash Corp. will spend $4.5 million to explore the Millstream potash deposit under the terms of the two-year agreement it signed in December.

It was one of two companies that responded to a request for proposals from the Department of Natural Resources to explore the Millstream potash mine.

The area in question, located between the Parleeville Road and Highway 121 near Apohaqui, was previously explored by British Petroleum Resources Canada in the 1980s and by International Minerals and Chemicals in the mid-1990s.

About 256 million tonnes of potash was discovered.

But the potash deposit was considered relatively small compared to other areas, such as Cassidy Lake and Penobsquis, which have since been developed.

The known deposit was also considered complex for the mining technology of the day due to the other minerals present, but the technology has changed considerably.

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan announced a $1.67-billion plan in 2007 to build a two-million-tonne mine.

There are 330 people working at the potash mine and another 140 full-time jobs will be created when the new mine opens in 2012.