PotashCorp to cut jobs, output as prices sag

(Dave Bedard photo)

Reuters — Fertilizer maker PotashCorp said Wednesday it was reducing jobs and output at one Saskatchewan mine and temporarily curtailing production at two others as the sector struggles with weak prices.

The company said it would cut production at its Cory potash mine, just west of Saskatoon, to 800,000 million tonnes a year from 1.4 million, resulting in a reduction of 100 jobs and 40 temporary positions starting in February.

Potash will also curtail production for six weeks at its Lanigan, Sask. mine starting in January and for 12 weeks at Allan, Sask. starting in February.

The changes come after potash prices fell to decade lows this year due to excessive global capacity, although they have recently improved. PotashCorp is still completing a multiyear expansion of its mine at Rocanville, Sask., about 120 km southeast of Yorkton.

The production cuts will allow the company to best use output from its lowest-cost mines, including Rocanville, Mark Fracchia, president of its potash division, said in a statement.

Pending regulatory approval, the company is merging with rival Agrium, which also runs a Saskatchewan potash mine near Vanscoy, about 20 km southwest of the Cory site.

Reporting for Reuters by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg.

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