Kurt Schreiner, LeRoy’s mayor, said the community is “extremely excited” for BHP’s Jansen potash mine announcement, having been preparing for over a decade.
Construction of the Jansen Project mine is expected to take around six years, with the first ore targeted to come from the ground in 2027. That will be followed by a ramp up period of two years. The mine is expected to operate for 100 years.
LeRoy is the closest urban municipality to the site, being just six miles north of the project.
Schreiner said the town began first preparing in 2008 when BHP made their first announcement about the possible opportunity at the site.
“We as a town have been busy completing upgrades over the last number of years hoping and preparing for the announcement,” Schreiner said.
“There’s never a guarantee but when something like that pops up in your backyard you want to somewhat prepare.”
Some of the preparations the town made include a new subdivision for 34 additional lots in 2009; a new sewage pumping station with a backup generator and force main upgrade in 2016; a new community centre and rink in 2016; and a water treatment plant upgrade with new a backup pump and generator in 2017.
The town is currently working on phase one of a three stage project for a backup well to guarantee a larger water supply.
“The jobs they’ll create, and we believe they’ll be good for local businesses in town – hopefully [they’ll] be able to provide a service for them. Maybe we’ll see more businesses pop up in town,” he said. “I think it’s going to be good for us and it’s going to be good for everybody in the surrounding communities.”
In a community readiness study prepared by BHP in 2012, it stated that the town envisions doubling its population of approximately 525 to 1,000 residents.
Schreiner said he doesn’t like to speculate about future population numbers.
“It’s a very tight knit community, it’s a very resilient community – we’ve been through a lot of things. Everybody’s welcome, we’re a very diverse, inclusive town.”
Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal