The loss of 400 good paying jobs in Sussex, N.B., due to the closure of the potash mine has many in the community still looking underground for an economic boost.

A massive lake is forming below the surface of the town as groundwater floods into the former mine. That lake will eventually be more than 10 kilometes long. As a result, the town of Sussex sees the potential to harvest geothermal energy

The underground caverns are expected to be filled within a couple of years.

"Companies will be able to come in, tap into the heat and cooling available through geothermal, set up and employ people locally," says Bill Thompson, co-ordinator of Sussex Economic Development.

The town faced an uncertain future last year when the potash industry was shut down.

“You hear the news, you're not sure what the impact is going to be on the community, and you're not sure how the community is going to respond to that,” says business owner Blair Hyslop. “I think sitting here today, we're in a much better place than we were 16 months ago."

Town officials say the community has been forced to explore new ideas.

"As a community we are moving ahead and we are moving forward and we're doing what we need to do to make sure we have that depth, that strength of economy," says Sussex Mayor Marc Throne.

The local business community says the plan offers obvious advantages.

"Geothermal is one of those assets that exist in the community, and you'd be hard pressed to find an industry that wouldn't benefit from low cost energy," said Thompson.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.