Harvest season closes with healthy volumes of raw sodium sulphate

Close monitoring, proactive techniques and a combination of wind, rain and heat have contributed to another good yield of high-quality raw material in Chaplin.

Saskatchewan Mining and Minerals has just come to the end of another harvest season. As always, the harvest demanded a delicate balance of what Chaplin Plant Manager Clayton Millar describes as “knowledge, experience, hard work and a little bit of luck.”

Working with weather

“The harvest was another great success,” says Millar, “The biggest goal of the production staff at SMMI is to try to predict the weather—a difficult task.” Weather conditions affect harvest volumes. In all but the most unfavourable conditions, the team can manage these effects and use them to their advantage.

Clayton Millar, Plant Manager

Filling and draining

“There are two aspects to our pre-harvest work: filling the reservoirs, and draining the reservoirs. Filling lets us get the optimal amount of brine with the right salt content into the centre division. Then we rely on wind, rain and heat to help the process along. Draining has to be timed perfectly, when the temperature is just cold enough to chill the water but not quite freeze it. This temperature decrease drops out as much salt for harvesting as possible.

“Fortunately, we had a good fill and a great drain. Temperatures were low and we had minimal ice, resulting in a substantial harvest of high-quality, low-impurity Glauber’s salt—raw material our production staff can turn into pure sodium sulphate of the high-grade our clients need.”

Production 24/7

Right now, the Chaplin plant is a busy place, with the team working four shifts every day, around the clock, to maximize average daily production. “We’re increasing run times to produce the maximum possible volume of sodium sulphate, and employees and management are looking at new and innovative ways of producing product so we can serve our customers even better.”