Archive | Potash/Phosphate

Gold mine of potash sits beneath Michigan, could be worth $65 billion – by Keith Matheny (Detroit Free Press – March 16, 2018

About a mile-and-a-half underground in north-central Michigan, an almost-forgotten reserve of the potassium-rich mineral salt potash could be worth $65 billion to the Michigan economy.

A widely used agricultural fertilizer, Michigan’s potash may be some of the purest found anywhere in the world. It’s spurring a Colorado engineer and geologist’s plan for a more than $700-million mining and processing facility in Osceola County.

“This is a transformative, generational opportunity for Osceola County,” said Michigan Potash CEO Theodore Pagano. “One of the world’s tightest-controlled commodities sits in Evart Township, and it’s the highest-graded ore by a factor of two. And it sits in a location better than anybody else’s in the world.” Continue Reading →

Mine Accident Shows a Potash Market Nervous About Outages – by Jen Skerritt and Aliaksandr Kudrytski (Bloomberg News – March 16, 2018)

(Bloomberg) — The news, when it came late Friday night from a government ministry in Minsk, was grim: the ceiling of a potash mine in Belarus had collapsed more than half a kilometer underground, trapping two workers.

Halfway around the world, the reaction to the headlines was swift and dramatic. Shares of some of the largest potash producers soared in New York and Toronto on speculation that the accident could knock out a large chunk of global production capacity.

The March 9 episode vividly illustrates that after a decade of gluts, the industry is suddenly nervous again about supply shocks. Demand has been constantly increasing and any change in production from the world’s top suppliers in Canada, Belarus and Russia has the potential to impact the market dramatically, said Daniel Sherman, a senior analyst for Edward Jones in St. Louis. Continue Reading →

INSIGHT: Brazil Potash – King of the jungle? ( – February 14, 2018)

LONDON (ICIS)–Deep in the Amazon lies a wide clearing – an unremarkable space overlooked by jungle trees with little sign of human habitation. However, if muriate of potash (MOP) start-up Brazil Potash pulls off its plan, the sleepy jungle of Autazes could soon be home to the nation’s largest MOP mine – a scheme CEO Matt Simpson believes could vastly reduce Brazil’s near-complete reliance on imported potash fertilizer.

Simpson – an experienced industry professional in the field of mining – heads up Brazil Potash, which formed in 2009 with a simple plan: to provide Brazil’s immense agricultural industry with a homegrown source of the vital mineral fertilizer.

‘Potash’ is the umbrella term for a number of potassium-rich fertilizers used the world over to support plant nutrition, improve yields, and fend off disease. Continue Reading →

Potash demand ‘robust’, but Nutrien CEO doesn’t rule out closing higher cost mines – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – February 7, 2018)

Nutrien Ltd., the newly formed company from the merger of The Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan and Agrium Inc., is well on course to achieve savings of half a billion dollar in synergies annually, according to its chief executive officer Chuck Magro.

“When we look at it, the $500 million in annual synergies — we’re very confident about that number,” Magro told investors on Nutrien’s first conference call about the company’s 2018 guidance. Already, the company has saved $40 million, Magro said, predicting that more savings will be achieved through the combination of the transportation, operations, finance and procurement functions.

For instance, he pointed to the elimination of 200 railcars as one example of a cost-saving synergy that resulted from the combination. But integrating the two companies could send ripples throughout Canada, with impacts far beyond Nutrien’s bottom line. Continue Reading →

Canadian fertilizer producer Nutrien to keep Saskatchewan base: premier – by Rod Nickel (Reuters Canada – January 4, 2018)

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – Nutrien Ltd, the fertilizer company formed this week by a merger of Potash Corp of Saskatchewan and Agrium, has committed to establishing its head office in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan and increasing corporate office jobs there, Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall said on Thursday.

Wall said that in recent meetings, Nutrien’s leading executives agreed to increase corporate office positions in Saskatchewan by 15 percent, to 300.

Saskatchewan is home to all of Nutrien’s operating potash mines, and the provincial government sets royalties and taxes on production. The location of top executives has long been politically sensitive as many were once based in Chicago. Continue Reading →

Price spike in sulfur leaves farmers, fertilizer makers sour – by Rod Nickel (Reuters U.S. – December 19, 2017)

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – Phosphate fertilizer producers, including Mosaic Co and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, are paying the highest prices in two years for sulfur, a key ingredient in their farm products, but farmers are the ones absorbing the extra cost.

Higher sulfur costs, the result of tight global supplies and strong Chinese demand, come as fertilizer makers struggle against a crop price slump that has diminished farmer buying power and as new global phosphate supplies come on stream.

The spike in thinly traded sulfur caused “a bit of pandemonium,” as it is a byproduct of oil and gas output, making it difficult to fill shortages quickly, said Andy Jung, director of market and strategic analysis at Minnesota-based Mosaic. Continue Reading →

Chile politics put Potash in tight spot on SQM stake sale – by Dave Sherwood and Felipe Iturrieta (Reuters U.S. – December 14, 2017)

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – The chance to own a stake in Chile’s SQM, one of the world’s top lithium producers, has attracted several potential suitors as prices for the so-called white gold – a key ingredient in electric car batteries – have skyrocketed.

But the buyer of the 32 percent of SQM being sold by Canadian Potash Corp of Saskatchewan‘s, which needs to divest the stake as part of a merger, will need to navigate tricky politics well before any deal is inked.

With a presidential election in Chile on Sunday, conservative billionaire Sebastian Pinera has emerged as the favorite with investors, but neither he nor his opponent in the second-round runoff, center-left candidate Alejandro Guillier, have expressed a favorable view of the scandal-plagued miner. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto joins race for stake in world’s largest lithium miner – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – November 8, 2017)

Canada’s PotashCorp must sell its interest in Chile’s SQM within 18 months of merging with Agrium, and Rio wants it.

Rio Tinto (ASX, LON:RIO) is said to be weighing an investment in Chile’s Chemical and Mining Society (SQM), the world’s largest lithium producer, becoming the latest in a long line of companies interested in grabbing a stake in the Santiago-based miner.

According to Chilean news site El Mostrador (in Spanish), the Anglo-Australian giant is eying the 32% interest in SQM that Canada’s Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX, NYSE:POT), the world’s largest producer of the fertilizer by capacity, has to sale to be allowed to merge with smaller rival Agrium (TSX, NYSE:AGU).

The Saskatoon-based potash miner is working with Goldman Sachs and BofA Merrill Lynch to sell its stake in SQM (worth about $4.5 billion at current market values), and so fulfill some of the conditions imposed by regulators in China and India to approve the company’s friendly merger with Agrium. Continue Reading →

Russia Bets on Hungry China With $6 Billion Fertilizer Mines – by Yuliya Fedorinova (Bloomberg News – November 8, 2017)

China’s dilemma of how to feed its booming population will partially be answered by fancier fertilizers, according to one of the world’s richest billionaires.

EuroChem Group AG, owned by Russian commodities tycoon Andrey Melnichenko, is spending over $6 billion on two mines to produce potash, a reddish mineral found deep in the Earth that’s prized for its ability as a soil fertilizer.

The company is counting on Asian farmers buying more sophisticated crop nutrients aimed at soil deficiencies or different crops, rather than saturating the ground with a blanket of chemicals. China’s farmers have long relied on heavy doses of state-subsidized fertilizer to boost yields, but that’s left fields contaminated. Continue Reading →

World Mining Competition testing the mettle of students in Saskatoon – by Alicia Bridges (CBC News Saskatoon – October 29, 2017)

Mining engineer Sydney Miller had never met the students on her four-person team before the World Mining Competition started in Saskatoon on Friday. Within 36 hours, the group had developed a complex mining strategy in response to a detailed question in a 26-page case study.

On Sunday, the multi-disciplinary teams of business, engineering and geology students from around the world each got the chance to present those strategies to a panel of judges.

Speaking shortly after her team’s presentation in the preliminary round, Miller said it had been a sleep-depriving and challenging weekend so far. “We had to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses and set up the case accordingly to where we thrive,” she said. Continue Reading →

Looking for Clues to Fate of Fertilizer Rally Amid Surplus – by Jen Skerritt and Megan Durisin (Bloomberg News – October 25, 2017)

As fertilizer producers in North America enjoy late-season improvement in prices, investors are looking for clues from the companies this week about how much longer the gains will last.

While crop nutrients including nitrogen and potash have rebounded from recent lows, questions remain about the lingering impact of a global surplus and prospects for a slowdown in demand. Producers will begin reporting third-quarter results in the next week, starting Thursday with Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.

Potash Corp.

A rally in potash prices probably helped to boost earnings for the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company to 12 cents a share in the quarter, excluding some special items, compared to 9 cents a year earlier, according to 19 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Continue Reading →

Potash, Agrium merger moves toward final hurdles – by Jeffrey Jones (Globe and Mail – October 23, 2017)

More than a year in the making, the merger of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. looks to be inching to completion.

India – one of several countries with a say in the tie-up of two Canadian-based fertilizer producers – gave its blessing last week, on the condition some minority international interests are put on the block.

The country’s competition regulator agreed to the deal providing Potash sells its stakes in Arab Potash Co., Israel Chemicals Ltd. and Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA within 18 months. The companies can close their deal before divesting the assets, which are estimated to be worth more than $5-billion (U.S.). Continue Reading →

PotashCorp one step closer to sealing merger deal with Agrium – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – October 19, 2017)

The world’s largest fertilizer company has to sell its minority stakes in three foreign-owned companies, valued at almost US$4 billion, to secure approval from the Indian government’s antitrust bureau to proceed with its proposed multi-billion-dollar merger.

An appellate court said this week that the Competition Commission of India’s approval of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.’s proposed merger with Agrium Inc. is conditional on the Saskatoon company selling the holdings within 18 months.

“This is another milestone reached on the road to a successful conclusion of the merger,” PotashCorp spokesman Randy Burton said. “The review process continues in both China and the U.S. and we expect to close the transaction by the end of the fourth quarter of 2017.” Continue Reading →

PotashCorp hires banks to lead sale of stake in Chilean lithium producer – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – September 24, 2017)

Canada’s Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX, NYSE:POT), the world’s largest producer of the fertilizer by capacity, is said to have hired Goldman Sachs and BofA Merrill Lynch to explore selling its stake in a Chilean lithium producer.

PotashCorp, which holds 32% of Chile’s Sociedad Quimica y Minera (SQM) and has three of eight board seats, is evaluating selling its part in the company to secure approval for its friendly merger with smaller rival Agrium (TSX, NYSE:AGU).

PotashCorp and Agrium said earlier this month their link-up would close several months later than previously anticipated as regulators in China and India put as a condition the divestment of certain minority interests the Canadian potash giant owns. Continue Reading →

‘Is it realistic to say it would be 50 per cent? No’: Mine workforce parity not likely in next decade, K+S says – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – September 18, 2017)

The company behind Saskatchewan’s newest potash mine employs a greater percentage of women than many of its competitors in the traditionally male-dominated industry, but its senior manager of human resources says achieving gender parity in the next decade will be a tall order.

Maryann Deutscher said that while K+S Potash Canada’s (KSPC) superintendent of primary mining is a woman and there are other similar success stories in the company, it will take time for perceptions about traditional and non-traditional roles to fade and a larger pool of women willing to work in engineering and the trades to develop.

“Is it realistic to say it would be 50 per cent? No, it’s probably not realistic because your pool’s just not there yet, right?” Deutscher said Tuesday in an interview before adding: “When you’re thinking 10 years, there’s people that have to be in those trades, in those operator-type roles now … Will it grow? It’d be great to see it even grow by 10 per cent and get up to that 25-30 per cent, for sure.” Continue Reading →