Archive | Potash/Phosphate

A $4 Billion Mine Was Meant to Lift Northern England. Instead Locals Lost Big – by Ronan Martin and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – January 21, 2020)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — Anglo American Plc’s plan to buy a giant potash project overlooking England’s North Sea is a bittersweet twist for local residents.

The deal will ensure billions of dollars of investment in the downtrodden region of North Yorkshire. But people like Neil Trillo, one of the thousands who bought shares in project owner Sirius Minerals Plc before it ran out of money, have been left counting their losses.

“It was a bit of a local dream,” Trillo said from behind the counter of his coffee stand in the seaside town Whitby. “Get involved with something local, something on the doorstep with a hundred-year plus tenure. That’s what was sold to investors.” Continue Reading →

Green Is The New Black For The World’s Biggest Mining Companies – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – January 14, 2020)

https://www.forbes.com/

The “greening” of the world’s biggest mining companies is accelerating with a rush into environmentally benign material, such as potash, a high-value fertilizer, matched by an exit from the most polluting of minerals—coal.

Global miner Anglo American flagged its renewed interest in fertilizer with a proposal last week to acquire a troubled British potash-project developer, Sirius Minerals, which is developing the Woodsmith mine in Yorkshire, in the U.K.

If successful, the $500 million takeover would mark a return to fertilizer three years after Anglo American sold a phosphate business as part of a company-wide clean up. Continue Reading →

Anglo American Seeks to Buy $3.8 Billion U.K. Potash Mine – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – January 8, 2020)

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — Anglo American Plc has moved to buy a giant U.K. potash mine that was running out of money, adding another major growth project for the century-old miner.

The deal for Sirius Minerals Plc is likely to secure 1,200 jobs and save the development of a mine in one of the U.K.’s most economically deprived areas. It’s also a further sign that Anglo is committed to growing its business — adding a second major project to its Peruvian copper-mine development — at a time when most rivals are reluctant to expand.

Anglo said it’s in advanced talks with Sirius about a possible 5.5 pence-a-share offer that values the company at about $508 million. While that’s a premium of 34% on Sirius’s closing share price on Jan. 7, the company was worth more than $2.3 billion 18 months ago, before its funding plans dried up. Continue Reading →

Get Sirius: Can the UK’s biggest mining project be saved? – by Julian Turner (Mining Technology – December 11, 2019)

https://www.mining-technology.com/

Sirius Minerals has cancelled a $500m bond sale to finance its polyhalite mine in North Yorkshire, citing economic conditions and uncertainty around Brexit. Can the UK’s biggest mining project be saved? We talk to Humphrey Knight, potash analyst at business intelligence firm CRU.

Could the UK’s most ambitious mining project really be over before production has even begun? Sirius Minerals has spent the past three years drumming up interest in its £4bn Woodsmith project under the North York Moors National Park.

The firm is building two mile-deep shafts to access what it claims is the world’s largest and highest-grade deposit of polyhalite, a naturally occurring mineral containing potassium, magnesium, calcium and sulphur that can be processed into fertiliser. Continue Reading →

Nutrien forced to shut down largest mine due to CN strike – by Eric Atkins (Globe and Mail – November 25, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The week-long strike by 3,200 Canadian National Railway Co. train conductors has forced the shutdown of Nutrien Ltd.’s potash mine in Rocanville, Sask.

Nutrien, the world’s largest fertilizer company, said on Monday it will halt output at its largest mine for two weeks beginning Dec. 2., as the impact of the strike at Canada’s largest rail company widens.

“It is extremely disappointing that in a year when the agricultural sector has been severely impacted by poor weather and trade disputes, the CN strike will add further hardship to the Canadian agriculture industry,” said Chuck Magro, Nutrien’s chief executive officer. “Any further disruption will be harmful to our business, the Canadian economy, and Canada’s competitive position and reputation as a reliable supplier of fertilizer and food.” Continue Reading →

Mining for the future: Saskatchewan Research Council R&D fosters innovation and sustainability – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – November 21, 2019)

http://resourceclips.com/

Predictably for a jurisdiction so rich in potash and uranium, mining plays a prominent role in the Saskatchewan Growth Plan, a 10-year economic program announced last week. Skeptics, however, might question the goal to extract lithium and rare earths locally and even set a near-precedent in non-Chinese commercial REE separation.

But it turns out that some of that work has been underway for years, while other targets have already been in the planning stage. That’s just part of a wide range of mining expertise developed and applied by the Saskatchewan Research Council.

SRC figures strongly in the province’s new agenda, whose mining-related initiatives include a continuation of the PST exception on drilling, streamlining permitting, creating a Geoscience Data Management System, boosting annual uranium and potash sales, upgrading and building road, rail, pipeline and power infrastructure, and developing nuclear energy. Continue Reading →

Haunted by Ghost Workers, Tunisian Phosphate Miner Seeks Revival – by Jihen Laghmari (Bloomberg News – November 21, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — Tunisia says it’s on track to restore once economically crucial phosphate output to levels approaching those before the 2011 Arab Spring uprising, as its beleaguered state-owned miner undergoes a shakeup.

Output will probably be at least 4.1 million tons in 2019, up from 2.8 million tons the previous year, Industry Minister Slim Feriani said. Before the revolt that unseated President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked long-running labor unrest, Tunisia was one of the world’s largest producers of the fertilizer component, creating as much as 8.2 million tons per year.

While the state-run Compagnie des Phosphates de Gafsa is suffering from “major economic problems,” it can be salvaged, Feriani said in an interview in Tunis. “The only solution is to improve production and productivity.” He described many of the company’s 30,000 employees as “ghost workers” hired “to maintain social peace.” Continue Reading →

World’s biggest miner names Canadian as new CEO, raises intrigue about potash ambitions – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – November 14, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Decision could have consequences on whether BHP pushes forward with a massive potash project in Saskatchewan in the coming years

Canadian Mike Henry will be the next chief executive of giant Australian miner BHP Group, a decision that could have consequences on whether it pushes forward with a massive potash project in Saskatchewan in the coming years.

Henry, 53, takes the helm in January, leaving a month or so for him to transition from his current role as head of BHP’s Australian mining operations, where the company’s iron ore mines that account for nearly half its revenue are located.

One item on his eventual to-do list, though not necessarily at the top, will be whether the company will allocate $5 billion to construct the first phase of its Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan. The project would initially add four million tons of potash to the market and as much as four times that over time, which could drastically alter the supply and demand dynamics for existing producers such as Saskatoon-based Nutrien Ltd. Continue Reading →

Nutrien CEO: 2020 will see strong recovery from this year’s soft fertilizer demand – by Canadian Press (Toronto Star – November 6, 2019)

https://www.thestar.com/

SASKATOON – Nutrien Ltd. says global demand for fertilizer is weaker than anticipated this year due to poor weather in North America and offshore buyers that have chosen to draw down their inventories.

As a result, the Saskatoon-based company has lowered key estimates for 2019, including a further reduction on potash sales volume following an earlier downward revision issued in September.

Nutrien’s potash sales for this year are now estimated at between 11.6 million and 12 million tonnes, down 300,000 tonnes from September, and one million tonnes lower than its estimate in July. Continue Reading →

‘It’s time to get back that hungry, competitive spirit’: Nutrien CEO pushes Ottawa to get serious about revving up economy – by Barrie McKenna (Globe and Mail – November 4, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Chuck Magro’s parents came to Canada from Malta in 1965 seeking a better life. “It’s the classic immigrant story,” says Mr. Magro, president and chief executive of Canadian fertilizer giant Nutrien Ltd.

They could have gone to Australia. They chose Canada. But Mr. Magro worries that Canada in 2019 is not the same dynamic country his parents found in the 1960s. It has become too complacent, ceding ground in global trade to more aggressive and determined adversaries, he says.

“When my mom and dad decided to come to Canada … they saw this country that was young and vibrant and building things,” he explains in an interview. “It’s time to get back that hungry, competitive spirit.” Continue Reading →

Nutrien and other rivals get nervous as BHP Billiton eyes $17-billion potash project in Saskatchewan – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – October 18, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Chuck Magro, chief executive of Saskatoon-based Nutrien Ltd., remained quiet on Thursday after the Australian-based mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. disclosed its latest plans to build a giant potash mine in his company’s backyard.

BHP announced it would commit an additional US$345 million, on top of roughly $3 billion already spent, to de-risk Jansen, a proposed potash mine east of Saskatoon that could upend the market; and it gave itself until February 2021 to make a final decision on the estimated $17-billion project.

If constructed, Jansen would add about 4.4 million tonnes of potash per year, roughly 7 per cent of the current market, and potentially enough to drive down potash prices and deal a blow to Nutrien, the largest producer in the world. The Saskatoon-based firm’s stock price fell just under a per cent to $64.64 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Continue Reading →

BHP to decide fate of Jansen potash mine in early 2021 – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – October 17, 2019)

https://www.mining.com/

BHP (ASX, NYSE: BHP), the world’s largest miner, will decide whether to go ahead with its long-delayed $17 billion Jansen potash project in Canada by February 2021, when it reaches 10 years since completing the feasibility study for the operation.

The company has been mulling a final decision on the asset for at least six years, during which it has spent almost $3 billion laying the ground for crop nutrient-producing project.

Two shafts have already been sunk, but BHP will have to invest another $5.3–$5.7 billion to finish phase one construction of the mine, which the company said would take fewer than 5 years to complete. BHP has in the past said it would consider selling a stake in the project to share capital and risk. Continue Reading →

Sirius Minerals shares crash after miner pulls $500m bond sale – by Neil Hume and Chris Tighe (Financial Times – September 17, 2019)

https://www.ft.com/

1,200 jobs at risk after UK government refuses to back $5bn project in Yorkshire

A $5bn project to build a huge potash mine under the North York Moors was plunged into fresh doubt after developer Sirius Minerals was forced to pull a crucial $500m bond issue and admit it had failed to secure government backing.

The company, which lost more than half its market value on Tuesday, now has six months to put in place fresh funding, otherwise it will run out of money and work on the UK’s biggest mining project in a generation will come to a halt, putting 1,200 jobs at risk.

Chief executive Chris Fraser said it was not possible to issue the junk bond — which was required to unlock a $2.5bn financing package for the mine — because of “ongoing poor bond market conditions”. Sirius’ shares tumbled by 60 per cent to 4p. Continue Reading →

Britain’s biggest mining project in peril as Sirius bond aborted – by Barbara Lewis and Noor Zainab Hussain (Reuters U.K. – September 17, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Sirius Minerals (SXX.L) scrapped a plan to raise $500 million in a bond sale on Tuesday, delaying a project to mine for fertiliser under a national park in northern England and halving the value of its shares.

The company had already suspended the bond issue in August. Sirius blamed market conditions aggravated by uncertainty over Britain’s departure from the European Union for its failure to secure funding.

Sirius said on Tuesday the government had turned down a renewed request for backing in August. The company said it would conduct a six-month review to work out cost savings and would slow development of the project. Continue Reading →

Potash downturn forces tough decisions, expert says after Nutrien layoff announcment – by Bridget Yard (CBC News Saskatoon – September 12, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/

The resource economy in Saskatchewan felt the pain of downturns in the potash market and resulting cost-saving measures Wednesday, when Potash giant Nutrien announced that up to 750 employees at three of its Saskatchewan mines will be affected by temporary layoffs.

It’s the latest move in an industry that has seen over-supply issues for years — and while marginal gains have Nutrien projecting a positive outlook, one Saskatchewan expert predicts the market will continue to suffer, at least for a few more years.

One of the goals of the merger of PotashCorp and Agrium that formed Nutrien was to produce $500 million in savings each year, but “you don’t pull that out of the air,” said University of Saskatchewan professor Brooke Dobni, who specializes in analysis of the province’s potash industry. Continue Reading →