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Potash Mines, Penobsquis

The Panthalassic Ocean surrounded the supercontinent of Pangea during the Carboniferous. About 340 million years ago low-lying areas of the Maritimes Basin were flooded by seawater. Over a period of about 15 million years sea level rose and fell and the Windsor Sea occupied the Maritimes Basin into New Brunswick as far inland as the area around what is now Sussex. New Brunswick was located near the equator and when sea levels lowered, the salt water evaporated, concentrating the minerals into salts or evaporates; potash, salt and gypsum.

The potash deposit near Penobsquis, mined by PotashCorp, is the second in largest in the world after a large deposit in Saskatchewan. The Cassidy Lake mine is no longer operational but the Penobsquis mine is still in operation with a large expansion underway. Most of the world’s potash is used for fertilizer with the rest being used for livestock feed supplements and in industrial processes such as the manufacture of glass and ceramics.