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Case Study

Agrium Inc.

Vault Project

Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Commodity: Potash
Project Phases: Detail Design Engineering, Construction & Commissioning

Client Overview

Agrium, which later merged with PotashCorp in 2018 to become Nutrien, emerged as one of the world’s largest potash producers. With a capacity exceeding 20 million tonnes of potash production at six lower-cost potash mines in Saskatchewan, Canada, Nutrien holds a prominent position in the industry.

Client Needs

The Vanscoy Ultimate Expansion aimed to significantly increase potash production by 1.0 million tonnes annually. This expansion involved the introduction of new processes, including dry crushing, scrubbing, insoluble flotation, and potash flotation. Furthermore, it required seamless integration with existing facilities through brownfield tie-ins to the crystallizer and utility circuits. The ambitious project aimed to extend the life of the mine by 61 years post-expansion.

Services Provided by TMG

TMG played a crucial role in ensuring the successful execution of the Vanscoy Ultimate Expansion by providing a range of services:

  • Design Optimizations: TMG conducted comprehensive design optimizations through value engineering exercises, particularly focusing on equipment retrofits for the Potash mine expansion. These optimizations aimed to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the expansion process.
  • Tie-Point Evaluation: TMG closely examined key tie-points based on design documents and field inspections. This meticulous evaluation was essential to ensure a smooth transition during the critical shutdown construction periods, minimizing disruptions to ongoing operations.
  • Materials Management: TMG implemented a detailed materials management plan, aligning the efforts of engineering and procurement departments with those of the on-site contractor. The objective was to guarantee the timely supply and installation of all equipment and bulk materials, adhering to the project schedule.


TMG’s contributions had a significant impact on the project’s success and resulted in several noteworthy outcomes:

Alternative Pursuit: TMG’s influence led the client to pursue a new alternative related to the replacement of five existing pressure vessels. This decision was informed by field examinations of the existing equipment and the preparation of a safety memo outlining the benefits of replacing equipment that had been in continuous operation for six decades.

Additionally, TMG prepared a trade-off report that detailed various operational scenarios and optimized the size of the new process equipment systems.

Enhanced Operational Efficiency: The alternative pursued as a result of TMG’s recommendations allowed the client to achieve nameplate production under safe operating conditions any day of the year. This represented a significant improvement compared to the previous operational approach, which yielded an average production value, with peak production occurring during the winter months.

Overall, the project’s successful execution, driven in part by design optimizations related to equipment retrofits and clash detection, ensured smooth installations during shutdown construction periods. TMG’s expertise and contributions played a pivotal role in enhancing the efficiency and safety of Nutrien’s potash production expansion at the Vanscoy facility, reinforcing their reputation as a trusted partner in the industry.