Surging Fertilizer Costs Risk Making Food Even Pricier Next Year – by Elizabeth Elkin (Bloomberg News – September 20, 2021)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Most people don’t give fertilizer a second thought — except maybe when driving through a particularly fragrant agricultural area. But with prices for some synthetic nutrients at their highest levels since the financial crisis, it could mean weaker harvests and bigger grocery bills next year, just as the world’s supply chains start to recover from the pandemic.

A perfect storm of events — from extreme weather and plant shutdowns to new government sanctions — have hit the chemical fertilizer market this year, slamming farmers already buckling under the strain of rising costs to produce food.

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How to Fix Florida’s Phosphate Problem – by Blair Wickstrom (Florida Sportsman – September 22, 2021)

https://www.floridasportsman.com/

Dave Markett, a Tampa Bay fishing guide who regularly fishes Piney Point, told those in attendance at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s 2021 Redfish Summit that, “We need to hold the people that are responsible for our water degradation accountable and that they pay a price.”

Markett went on to demand that “phosphate needs to be funding the cost of seagrass restoration,” and ended with a dire prediction: “We are one tropical storm away from a disaster of unimaginable proportions.” Agree. And agree.

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BHP to spend $7.5-billion on Saskatchewan potash mine as it quits oil – by Andrew Willis (Globe and Mail – August 18, 2021)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The world’s largest mining company, BHP Group Ltd., signalled its future is focused on sustainable industries by committing $7.5-billion to a massive Saskatchewan potash project while exiting the oil and gas business.

On Tuesday, Melbourne, Australia-based BHP announced it is moving forward with the Jansen mine, mothballed for several years after more than $5-billion of development spending, and it will begin shipping potash in 2027. The project will create 3,500 construction jobs and permanent work for 600 employees.

BHP also announced it will spin out its energy business to Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd., creating one of the world’s largest independent oil and gas companies. BHP shareholders will receive Woodside shares that give them a 48-per-cent stake in the energy company.

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U.S. Sanctions on Belarus Potash Leave Out Nation’s Sole Seller – by Yuliya Fedorinova (Bloomberg News – August 10, 2021)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Potash buyers fretting over U.S. sanctions on Belarus’s state-owned producer, which controls about a fifth of the global market for the crop nutrient, might not need to panic right away.

The penalties announced on Monday target Belaruskali OAO, which ships much of its products to China, India and Latin America, along with more than a dozen companies with ties to President Alexander Lukashenko.

Yet Belarusian Potash Co., in which Belaruskali owns a 48% stake and which is the sole handler all of the country’s potash exports, wasn’t included in the sanctions list.

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BHP pushing for tax concessions from Saskatchewan government ahead of construction decision on Jansen mine – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – July 23, 2021)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

BHP Group Ltd. is in discussions with the Saskatchewan government about possible tax breaks as it nears a construction decision on the giant Jansen potash mine, two sources familiar with the talks said.

Australia’s BHP has already sunk US$4-billion into building mine shafts at the site, 140 kilometres east of Saskatoon, and as much as US$5.7-billion is needed to bring Jansen into production. The company is expected to decide as early as next month whether it will proceed with Jansen.

The Globe and Mail and Bloomberg reported in May that BHP was negotiating with Saskatoon-based Nutrien Ltd. on a possible joint venture agreement for Jansen. But the Melbourne-based miner is now facing the prospect of going it alone on Jansen, as talks with Nutrien have fizzled without an agreement in place, one of the sources said.

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Crist unveils clean water plan that calls for tougher regulations on pollution – by Zac Anderson (Sarasota Herald-Tribune – July 14, 2021)

https://www.heraldtribune.com/

SARASOTA — With Florida’s nagging environmental woes flaring up to crisis levels in some areas, Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist unveiled a clean water plan Wednesday that was light on details but promised tougher regulations.

A red tide algae bloom is causing extensive fish kills in the Tampa Bay area, Florida is experiencing a record number of manatee deaths and a large blue-green algae bloom covers much of Lake Okeechobee.

Crist touched on all three issues Wednesday, but also drew a rebuke from a prominent local environmentalist about what he didn’t include in his plan — phosphate mining.

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Most Belarus potash exports not affected by EU sanctions – by Harry Miller (Canada News Media – June 25, 2021)

https://canadanewsmedia.ca/

The European Union’s ban on imports and transit of potash from Belarus will not affect most exports of the crop nutrient from the world’s top producer, provided the restriction stays in its current form, potash transporters and analysts said.

The curbs apply to Belarus Potash Company (BPC) which exports potash — Minsk’s main foreign currency earner — mostly via the Baltic port of Klaipeda in EU-member Lithuania.

But its main export product, namely potash with 60% potassium content, is not on the EU’s list of sanctioned items, the industry analysts pointed out.

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History Of Phosphate Mining In Florida Fraught With Peril – by Steve Newborn (WUSF Public Media – June 16, 2021)

https://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/

In our ongoing series on phosphate mines, WUSF reports on the long, tangled history of Florida’s phosphate mines and the environment.

At the construction entrance to the Piney Point phosphate plant – off Buckeye Road in northern Manatee County, just south of the Hillsborough County line – the smell of phosphate and gypsum hangs heavy in the air.

A bulldozer is busy pushing sand into a hole from which more than 200 million gallons of tainted water flowed into Tampa Bay. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Accidents like this fill the history books in Florida, including two here at this very site.

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Fertilizer markets boom on mixed fundamentals – by Julia Meehan (The Fence Post – June 14, 2021)

https://www.thefencepost.com/

LONDON — International fertilizer markets are currently experiencing an unseasonal boost in prices and demand, with some prices hitting historical highs. The major question now for producers, traders, co-operatives and farmers, is if current levels will be sustained and what availability will look like moving through the second half of 2021?

While some markets are exclusively impacted by production cuts, rising feedstock costs, sanction cuts, rising freight rates a major driver giving the market confidence is record crop prices.

AMMONIA

The unabated strength of ammonia, which has also been driving prices up for urea and nitrates, looks to remain a challenging market, where, on almost a daily basis, production problems are announced.

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BHP is in talks with Nutrien on giant potash mine – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – May 26, 2021)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

BHP Group is in talks with Nutrien Ltd. about a potential partnership in its massive Canadian potash venture as the world’s biggest mining company moves closer to a final decision on the project.

The two companies are discussing multiple options, including Nutrien becoming the operator and selling the potash through its existing channels, or the Canadian company taking a stake in the Jansen mine, according to people familiar with the matter.

There is no guarantee the talks will lead to a deal, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private.

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Analyst confident massive Sask. [BHP] potash mine will be approved as deadline approaches – by David Shield (CBC News Saskatoon – April 28, 2021)

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

While a final decision has not been given on a proposed large potash mine project in Saskatchewan, one financial analyst says he is quite confident it will be approved in the next few months.

Originally announced in 2010, BHP’s Jansen mine was once hailed as the largest potash project in the world. The site is located about 140 kilometres east of Saskatoon.

Low potash prices meant the company never gave the mine final approval. While production and service shafts have been dug, and are almost fully completed, BHP has yet to produce any mineral from the site.

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Phosphate mine collapse ‘imminent’ as DeSantis issues state of emergency in Florida county – by Mark Young and Ryan Callihan (Miami Herald – April 21, 2021)

https://www.msn.com/en-us/

PALMETTO, Fla. — Less than a day after Manatee County issued an emergency evacuation order for nearby residents of the troubled Piney Point industrial site, public safety officials have announced new and immediate evacuations around the phosphate mine, declaring the collapse of the gypsum stack is “imminent.”

Several hours later, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a State of Emergency for the county. “Due to a possible breach of mixed saltwater from the south reservoir at the Piney Point facility, I have declared a State of Emergency for Manatee County to ensure resources are allocated for necessary response & recovery.”

The public safety alert told residents: “Evacuate the area NOW. Collapse of Piney Point Stack is imminent. Immediate evacuation of Chapman Road to Airport Road and US 41 to O’Neill Road. Leave area IMMEDIATELY.”

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Nutrien CEO Chuck Magro stepping down as head of Saskatoon-based fertilizer giant – by Jeffrey Jones (Globe and Mail – April 20, 2021)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Chuck Magro is stepping down as chief executive officer of Nutrien Ltd. and will be replaced by Mayo Schmidt, who is currently chairman of the Saskatoon-based fertilizer giant, the company said on Sunday.

As part of the executive shuffle, Russ Girling, Nutrien director and the former CEO of TC Energy Corp., will become board chairman. There is no indication of any controversy or pressure behind the executive changes. Nutrien said Mr. Magro, who has been its only CEO, is leaving to pursue other opportunities. It did not offer details.

Mr. Magro had been president and CEO of Calgary-based Agrium Inc. when it merged with Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan in 2018 to cement its place as the world’s largest producer of fertilizer. He will help with the leadership transition until May 16, the company said.

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‘No community should suffer this’: Florida’s toxic breach was decades in the making – by Paola Rosa-Aquino (The Guardian – April 11, 2021)

https://www.theguardian.com/

It’s been a week since a significant leak at a long-abandoned fertilizer plant in the Tampa Bay area threatened the surrounding groundwater, soil, and local water supplies.

Last weekend, officials ordered more than 300 families living near the 676-acre Piney Point plant site in Manatee county to evacuate. The sheriff even emptied out his jail’s first floor of inmates in case a “20-foot wall of water” came rolling their way.

By Monday, local officials said they thought the crisis had been averted; they lifted evacuation orders on Tuesday afternoon. But what they meant was that imminent catastrophe had been postponed.

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‘Imminent’ Collapse of Wastewater Reservoir in Florida Forces Evacuations – by Bryan Pietsch and Marie Fazio (New York Times – April 3, 2021)

https://www.nytimes.com/

A reservoir in Florida that holds nearly 400 million gallons of wastewater from a former phosphate mine was leaking on Saturday, prompting hundreds of evacuations, the authorities said.

Crews were “doing their best to control the outflow” of contaminated water into a creek at Piney Point in Florida, the site of a former phosphate mine that is south of Tampa, said Vanessa Baugh, the chairwoman of the Manatee County Commission.

The spillage was an “imminent hazard” that posed “an immediate and substantial danger to human health, safety, welfare and the environment,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis, who issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency.

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