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A Canadian Pacific Railway locomotive sits at the Obico Intermodal Terminal in Toronto, in May 2012.MIKE CASSESE/Reuters

It took 9.7 million cubic metres of earth and 50,000 railway ties to build the 30-kilometre railway through the Saskatchewan Prairie to a new K+S Potash Canada Inc. mine near Moose Jaw. When the line opened last spring, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. called it the "most significant engineering project" it had undertaken since the 1980s.

But the collapse of a four-kilometre embankment built to cross the Qu'Appelle River during construction in late 2015 has spurred two $41-million lawsuits.

CP is suing five construction contractors and two insurance companies over the collapse, alleging they continued to build the embankment despite being aware the equipment that monitors its stability during construction was not working properly.

CP alleges the companies' "breaches of contract, negligence and misrepresentations" forced it to pay $41-million to redesign and rebuild the section, which took another year to complete.

CP's allegations have not been tested in court. Calgary-based CP filed the lawsuits in Alberta's Court of Queen's Bench in December.

The companies named in the lawsuit are Hatch Corp., Thurber Engineering Ltd., Kelly Panteluk Construction Ltd., Altus Geomatics Ltd., Intact Insurance Co. and Clifton Associates Ltd.

Named in a separate claim is insurance company Marsh Canada Ltd. "As a result of the lack of coverage under its own policies of insurance and/or Marsh's failure to provide any, or any adequate, advice regarding the requirements for engaging coverage and/or advancing claims under those policies, CP faces significant losses in respect of damage to the embankment that occurred in December, 2015. " CP alleged in its claims against Marsh.

Kelly Panteluk, owner of Kelly Panteluk Construction, said in an e-mail the company will be "preparing a response refuting all CPR's assertions." Altus Geomatics president Dave Gurnsey said the company will defend itself against CP's claims. Spokeswomen for Marsh and Intact declined to comment. The other companies did not respond to interview requests.

CP declined to comment.

In a news release heralding the opening of theBethune mine in May, 2017, CP and German-owned K+S described building the rail line to the province's first new potash mine in more than 40 years as a "geotechnical challenge."

"Building 30 kilometers of new rail through a rural area, including a river valley, is no easy feat and I want to congratulate all those who invested their time and energy in bringing this project to a successful conclusion," said Keith Creel, CP's chief executive officer, in a statement.

CP ships the mine's potash, an agricultural fertilizer, on two-kilometre-long trains to K+S's storage facility in Port Moody, B.C., where it is loaded into ships bound for overseas markets. The Bethune mine began production in June, and launched its first shipload to Asia in October. The mine has a yearly capacity of two million tonnes.

K+S Canada's German parent, K+S Group, employs 14,000 people and produces fertilizer and salt at facilities around the world.

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