K+S Bethune mine produces its 1st tonne of potash

The K+S Bethune mine has produced its first tonnes of potash, part of the 600,000 to 700,000 tonnes expected to come from the mine this year.

600,000 to 700,000 tonnes of potash expected to be mined at Bethune this year

The first tonnes of marketable potash arrive in the warehouse at K+S's new Bethune potash mine in Saskatchewan. (K+S Potash Canada)

The new Bethune mine produced its first tonnes of marketable potash over the weekend.

The K+S-owned mine, located 60 kilometres northwest of Regina, is the first potash mine to open in Saskatchewan in 40 years. The company calls it "the most modern potash facility in the world."

The mine held its grand opening in May.

K+S intends to produce 600,000 to 700,000 tonnes of potash at Bethune this year. Eventually, annual production is expected to reach 2 million tonnes by the end of 2017. 

The mine extracts potash crude salt, to be processed into three different products of potassium chloride. The company says the potash will be used as fertilizer and in a variety of industrial applications.

The first potash transport from Bethune to the new harbour terminal at Vancouver should leave by train during August. From there, it's shipped all over the world.