By Nick Worth
Passport Potash, Inc. announced yesterday it has hired Michael X. Schlumpberger as the firm’s chief operating officer.
Schlumpberger is a mining engineer with 27 years experience in the mining industry. He has spent over 21 years with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PotashCorp), during which time he has acquired significant experience in almost all phases of mining operations, according to Passport’s press release.
Before starting his career with PotashCorp, Schlumpberger began his career as a mining engineer with the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Minneapolis, Minn. He then worked as a production supervisor for Unimin Corporation, where he supervised the production of a 500,000 ton per year silica sand mining and processing operation.
During his 21-year career with PotashCorp, Schlumpberger worked in many positions, including maintenance mining engineer, production engineer for prestripping, production engineer for mine services (blend and reclamation), mining engineer for mine and reclamation planning for mining operations, mine services coordinator for mine planning and services, assistant to the manager of mining operations, mill superintendent, maintenance and materials manager, operations manager and mine general superintendent.
As mine general superintendent, Schlumpberger was responsible for all aspects of the underground mining and hoisting for an eight million tonne per year potash mine in Saskatchewan, Canada. He oversaw an expansion and upgrade to increase production by approximately 50 percent, including hoisting, while in normal production.
As part of his mine general superintendent duties, he was accountable for productivity, process and reliability improvements, budgeting, the capital replacement program, safety and environmental compliance.
“He brings welcome expertise and will be a great addition to the team,” said Passport’s Head of Corporate Development Ken Bond.
Schlumpberger’s first duties will include primary responsibility for the production of a pre-feasibility report, which is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2014, followed by a feasibility report, which is expected to be finished in the first quarter of 2015.
“These kinds of reports are very detailed and very involved,” said Bond. “Since he’ll ultimately be running the operations of the mine, he basically will be responsible for these next two rounds of engineering studies, and for the building of the mine and bringing it into production.”
“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work on bringing a potential new potash mine into production, and I am thrilled to become a part of this project,” commented Schlumpberger.
Joshua Bleak, president and CEO of Passport said the company is excited over Schlumpberger’s hiring.
“It is rare to find someone with Michael’s level of potash expertise,” said Bleak. “We are confident that, with his expertise, we will be able to meet any technical challenge we may face.”
By Nick Worth