Archive | Potash/Phosphate

BHP admits it ‘over-invested’ in Jansen mine – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – May 15, 2019)

https://thestarphoenix.com/

However, the company’s CEO told investors this week, it still considers the project east of Saskatoon ‘attractive.’

BHP “over-invested” in its massive Jansen potash mine, currently under construction east of Saskatoon, the Anglo-Australian company’s chief executive told investors this week.

However, Andrew Mackenzie said during a mining conference in Barcelona, BHP still considers the project “attractive” even though no final decision about its future has been made.

BHP has committed around US$3.9 billion to the project, but Mackenzie confirmed this week that it remains “uncertain” when the company’s board will make a decision about whether to proceed further. Continue Reading →

Threat of government delay pushed Sirius to markets to fund Yorkshire potash mine – source (Reuters U.K. – May 3, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Sirius Minerals opted to press on with a more complex and expensive funding package to develop its giant potash mine in Yorkshire to avoid a longer wait for government-backed financing, a source familiar with the deal told Reuters.

Sirius had planned to secure a debt financing package for the $3 billion (£2.3 billion) Woodside project – one of the largest mines to be built in Britain for years – from the government, with the rest funded by the market.

The mine has been touted by British Prime Minister Theresa May as the kind of project that fits “the northern powerhouse” — a government scheme to boost investment and jobs in the north of England. In January, finance minister Philip Hammond said discussions on government backing for the project were ongoing. Continue Reading →

Bomb Watchers Twitching as Looser Rules Weighed for Uranium – by Jonathan Tirone (Bloomberg News – April 15, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Back in the 1970s and 1980s when he was keeping America’s nuclear weapons up to date, Robert Kelley didn’t pay much attention to their source of uranium.

But then he was reassigned to lead the international team that accounted for the of hundreds of tons of the heavy metal Iraq secretly extracted at a fertilizer factory to feed Saddam Hussein’s weapons program.

That discovery at the Al-Qaim phosphate plant underscored a loophole in the global policing of nuclear materials, allowing countries without much scrutiny to derive uranium from a mineral more often used as a nutrient for soil. Continue Reading →

Mosaic suspends phosphate mines in Brazil after new rules for dams – by Marcelo Teixeira (Reuters U.S. – April 11, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

SAO PAULO, April 11 (Reuters) – The Mosaic Company, a Brazilian fertilizer maker, said on Thursday it will suspend production at its phosphate mines of Tapira and Catalão after failing to obtain a deadline extension in order to provide stability certification for three of its tailings dams.

Phosphate is a crucial fertilizer ingredient and Mosaic’s operation is the largest in Brazil, which is a global leader in agriculture, producing more than 220 million tonnes of grains and 570 million tonnes of cane per year, among other products such as coffee, tobacco, cotton and fruits.

Mining regulations in Brazil have been affected by a dam disaster in January, involving miner Vale SA,that killed hundreds, prompting new rules to try to avoid more accidents. Brazil has dozens of tailings dams, which hold back byproducts created during the extraction of mineral resources. Continue Reading →

Environmental concerns raised after CanPacific proposes new potash mine near Regina (CBC News Saskatchewan – April 2, 2019)

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

CanPacific documents say majority of site would be on cultivated land

An environmental group is expressing concern about a proposed 3.25 million-tonne per year CanPacific Potash mine near the village of Sedley, Sask.

CanPacific submitted its final environment impact statement to the province in January, the company says, and the project is pending environmental assessment approval.

Trevor Herriot, spokesperson for the group Public Pastures — Public Interest, said his concerns began when he read the environmental impact statement for the proposed mine near Sedley, which is about 50 kilometres southeast of Regina. Continue Reading →

Strong Demand From Farmers For Crop-Boosting Potash Triggers A Mining Rush – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – March 20, 2019)

https://www.forbes.com/

Tim Treadgold has been writing about the mining and oil industries for more than 40 years.

Rising prices for potash, an important fertilizer which boosts crop yields, has sparked a rush in the mining industry as big and small companies look for ways to cash in.

BHP, the world’s biggest miner, has the most ambitious plan as it mulls the best time to start production at its $10 billion Jansen project in Canada. But even in Britain, a country which closed most of its mines decades ago, is working towards starting a $3 billion potash mine in North Yorkshire.

Other potash project developers in locations as far apart as Australia and Eritrea, on the horn of Africa, are hoping to catch strong demand from farmers who use the fertilizer which helps crops retain water while also improving their taste and overall quality. Continue Reading →

Nutrien outlook falls below expectations as trade dispute weighs on prices (Canadian Press/Financial Post – February 8, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

SASKATOON — Nutrien Ltd. says lower crop prices last year from trade uncertainty and high crop yields put pressure on its customers but that it expects the situation to improve this year.

Prices are already improving for key crops and the fundamentals have improved, said company CEO Chuck Magro on an earnings call Thursday. “We do expect farmer economics to improve in 2019, crop prices are up.”

He said farmers in the key U.S. market had a tough time last year as a trade dispute saw China impose tariffs on some U.S. crops. “Crop prices started to recover early in the year… but then the trade uncertainty hit, that provided a significant amount of pressure on crop prices, and that has hurt our farmer customers.” Continue Reading →

NDP renews longstanding call for potash royalty review – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – January 28, 2019)

https://thestarphoenix.com/

The provincial government, however, is keeping its review, announced in 2015, on pause.

The Saskatchewan NDP is calling out the provincial government for shelving its planned potash royalty review, saying the only way to ensure fairness is to overhaul a complex system that has not undergone significant change in a decade.

Ryan Meili, who first floated the idea late last year, is the latest in a succession of NDP leaders and academics to question whether Saskatchewan potash producers are contributing enough to the provincial treasury.

“You’re going to want to make sure that whatever is happening is to the best interests of Saskatchewan people. It’s unlikely that the right decision would result in less money for us,” Meili said Monday. Continue Reading →

Nutrien merger effects ongoing one year later – by Ashley Robinson (The Western Producer – January 14, 2019)

https://www.producer.com/

WINNIPEG – After clearing various regulation hurdles, Agrium and the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan merged together at the start of 2018 to become the world’s largest fertilizer company, Nutrien. At the time Nutrien had made various promises and many in Western Canada were cautious, hoping for the best but not fully knowing what to expect.

Now a year later, Nutrien has begun to settle into its new role in the agriculture world and according to retailers and producers it hasn’t really shaken things up all that much. However, there are a few things that still have many in Western Canada cautiously watching.

“I don’t want to pretend to call it a non-event because there’s always a concern about consolidation and all I can say at the moment is it doesn’t have any obvious impact,” said Ray Redfurn, president and founder of Redfern Farm Services in southwestern Manitoba. Continue Reading →

BHP’s $20 Billion Canadian Potash Dilemma: To Build or Not? – by David Stringer, Thomas Biesheuvel and Jen Skerritt (Bloomberg News – December 13, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

BHP Group may be heading for another clash with investors as the world’s biggest miner gets closer to a decision on whether to build, sell or mothball its $20 billion potash project.

The Jansen mine in Canada is aimed at giving the company exposure to rising global food demand and represents one of its few big growth prospects. BHP has already spent about $2.7 billion on the project, according to an October filing, and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie last month spoke enthusiastically about the outlook for potash, a crop nutrient.

Yet investors and analysts are skeptical. The big-ticket project in the prairie province of Saskatchewan means getting into a new commodity dominated by a small handful of producers. Continue Reading →

Sisters of Mercy help push Canadian mining giant to abandon operations – by Michael Swan (The Catholic Register – December 10, 2018)

https://www.catholicregister.org/

After years of lobbying by a small community of Catholic sisters from eastern Canada, the world’s largest producer of potash is abandoning mining operations in territory south of Morocco.

Canadian-owned fertilizer giant Nutrien — created by a 2017 merger of Saskatoon-based Potash Corp. and Calgary-based Agrium Inc. — will cease all potash shipments from occupied and disputed Western Sahara territory before Jan. 1, 2019.

“It’s not our place as Canadians to go in and tell other countries how to live or what to do,” said Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland superior Sr. Elizabeth Davis. “It certainly is our place as Canadians — if we are living or working or present in other countries — to act with justice and to act ethically.” Continue Reading →

Only one senior Nutrien executive lives in Saskatchewan – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – November 19, 2018)

https://thestarphoenix.com/

When Pedro Farah takes over as chief financial officer of the world’s largest fertilizer company early next year, he will start looking for a home in Calgary rather than Saskatoon. That will leave Nutrien Ltd. with a single senior executive who lives and works in Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan’s former home: Newly installed president of potash Susan Jones.

Four of the remaining executives who report directly to Nutrien CEO Chuck Magro — plus Magro himself — live in Calgary; two reside in Loveland, Colo., and one calls Northbrook, Ill., home. That has the provincial government worried.

Premier Scott Moe’s communications director, Jim Billington, wrote in an email that Moe shares his predecessor’s concerns about the “business locations” of the company’s senior executives. Continue Reading →

Nutrien’s US$1.8B N.B. mine writeoff illustrates dismal state of potash market – by Gabriel Freidman (Financial Post – November 7, 2018)

https://business.financialpost.com/

For nearly three years, the town has been working to absorb the shock of the closure

Saskatoon-based Nutrien Ltd., the largest potash company in the world, announced late Monday evening that it is closing a mine in Sussex, N.B. that cost billions of dollars to construct and that it had barely operated.

Marc Thorne, mayor of Sussex, said that the news arrived quickly. On Monday, the company asked for a meeting on short notice, and told him it planned to close its potash mine and return the site to nature.

“In four or five years, there may not be any indication that the mine was even there,” said Thorne. The situation illustrates the dismal state of the potash market. Nutrien’s predecessor, the Potash Company of Saskatchewan, started building the mine in 2007 and finished eight years later at a cost of US$2.2 billion. Continue Reading →

Battle over phosphate mining roils small Florida town – by Alan Toth and Laura Newberry (PBS.org – October 31, 2018)

https://www.pbs.org/

Phosphate mining is a major industry in Florida, but it’s also a major source of pollution, responsible for red tide, toxic algal blooms and killing wildlife. In the northern part of the state, residents of a small town are resisting a man who wants to mine phosphate near their homes. Can the local government balance individual rights and with community health concerns? Laura Newberry reports.

Judy Woodruff:

In the coming midterm election, environmental issues have played an unusually large role in the state of Florida, in part due to the explosion of two blooms of algae that have crippled part of the state’s tourism economy and killed hundreds of thousands of fish and wildlife.

There are many factors driving these blooms, but scientists believe that the mining of phosphorous is one of them. Mining this mineral is a huge business in Florida.

And special correspondent Laura Newberry and producer Alan Toth tell us, the fight over a new mine is sharply dividing one Florida town. It’s the focus of this week’s on the Leading Edge of science and technology. Continue Reading →

A Push for Safer Fertilizer in Europe Carries a Whiff of Russian Intrigue – by Matt Apuzzo (New York Times – October 21, 2018)

https://www.nytimes.com/

BRUSSELS — The trade group Safer Phosphates would seem to have a pitch-perfect message for an environmentally conscious European Union. It advocates cleaner soil and healthier food, with a website showing pristine fields of wheat. It is also supporting legislation that would place tighter regulations on fertilizer.

But the group is not run by environmentalists. Its driving force is a Russian fertilizer giant that has ties to the Kremlin. And the environmental legislation it is backing would reset regulations in a way that could help the company, PhosAgro, push aside rivals and give it greater influence over the European food supply.

Fertilizer might not seem an obvious source of geopolitical tension. But with Moscow working openly and covertly to widen its sphere of power, the prospect of a politically connected Russian company cornering a key part of the European agricultural market has raised sharp concerns. Russia already wields tremendous clout as the European Union’s dominant provider of natural gas and as a growing source of nuclear fuel. Continue Reading →