Archive | Potash/Phosphate

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

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)

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)

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 ( – October 17, 2019)

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)

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)

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)

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 →

Nutrien to temporarily shut down three Saskatchewan potash mines – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – September 12, 2019)

The eight-week shutdowns are expected to affect between 600 and 700 miners.

The world’s largest fertilizer company says it will temporarily shutter three of its Saskatchewan potash mines to address what it calls a “short-term slowdown” in global potash markets.

Nutrien Ltd. said late Wednesday afternoon that its Allan, Lanigan and Vanscoy mines will be “proactively” shut down for eight weeks in the fourth quarter of the year.

The shutdowns are expected to affect between 600 and 700 miners across the three sites beginning in November, Nutrien spokesman Will Tigley said in a telephone interview. Continue Reading →

Nutrien aims for ‘mine of the future’ as Cory operation marks 50 years of potash – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – August 13, 2019)

The visible portion of a Saskatchewan potash mine is dwarfed by what lies beneath the sun-baked prairie.

The gate clangs shut, blotting out most of the summer light filtering into the headframe. Gloved hands reach up to switch on headlamps; the beams jitter across the walls, echoing the nervous energy inside the cage as it descends into the blackness below.

For all the size and complexity of its surface operations — a vast network of mills, conveyors, warehouses and loading facilities — the visible portion of a Saskatchewan potash mine is dwarfed by what lies beneath the sun-baked prairie.

It’s like a small city, mine general manager Leon Boehm said as he drove an electric vehicle through the sweltering underground air toward one of the Cory mine’s active faces, the business end of Saskatchewan’s most iconic natural resource extraction industry. Continue Reading →

Rare earths filtered from phosphate mine waste (Mining Magazine – July 30, 2019)

The project for the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute had the aim of capturing, extracting and separating rare earth elements (REE) out of both phosphoric acid and the resulting waste.

Precision Periodic, which is a University of Central Florida incubator company, has developed a proprietary nano-filter for extracting and releasing multiple REEs, precious metals, heavy metals and/or radioactive elements out of acidic liquids. It is both reusable and scalable for different size applications.

With the Thor nano-filtration system, the test team was able to capture 40-60% of the REEs and radioactive elements in a five-minute, single pass-through from wet process phosphoric acid, and 80% of the REEs in a five-minute, single pass-through from sulphuric acid leached waste. Continue Reading →

Danakali to start developing vast potash project in Eritrea – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – July 26, 2019)

Australia’s Danakali (ASX, LON:DNK) is closer than ever to beginning the development of its world-class Colluli potash project in Eritrea, which is expected to become one of the world’s most significant and lowest cost sources of sulphate of potash (SOP), a premium grade fertilizer.

A key step toward that goal was taken late last year, when Danakali signed a $200 million funding mandate with a syndicate of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC)

Once those credit approvals are confirmed, something the Perth-based company estimates will happen “any day” now, Danakali will kick off development of the 1.1 billion-tonne potash project. Continue Reading →

Nutrien says 34 workers trapped in Sask. potash mine now safely back on surface (Financial Post/Canadian Press – July 4, 2019)

A spokesman said the workers, who were about a kilometre underground, were safe and had food, water, power and contact with the surface

SASKATOON — A fertilizer company says all 34 people who were trapped deep in a Saskatchewan potash mine for more than a day are now safely above ground.

Will Tigley, a spokesman with Nutrien Ltd., said a service shaft stopped working at its Cory mine near Saskatoon on Tuesday. On Wednesday evening, the staff took a separate elevator normally used to transport potash to the surface.

“We are happy to confirm that we have all of our 34 people above ground,” he said. “For the most part, all of our employees were in good spirits and we got some of our other employees to drive them home to their families.” Continue Reading →

Nutrien pondering potash production increases – by Devan C. Tasa (Humboldt Journal/Yorkton This Week – June 13, 2019)

Nutrien is considering whether it should increase its potash production capacity by five million tonnes by 2023, then by another five million tonnes after that.

At an event for investors in Toronto on May 28, Susan Jones, Nutrien’s executive vice president for potash, said they have five million tonnes of capacity in place at existing operations that can be quickly brought online with minimal investment if there’s a need.

“In other words, all of this available capacity has already been bought and paid for over the last decade, putting us in a unique position as the only producer with available tonnes to move tonnes into the market quickly, nimbly and flexibly as needed,” she said. Continue Reading →

Port of Saint John becomes exporter of potash despite Sussex mine shutdown (CTV Atlantic – June 11, 2019)

Pipelines have been controversial, but the so-called potash pipeline between Saskatchewan and Saint John has been a surprise success story even after our region’s only potash mine ceased production.

When potash mining abruptly came to an end three years ago in the Sussex area, the next domino that was expected to fall was the potash export terminal at the port of Saint John.

“In the worst-case scenario, we saw the potash terminal being mothballed, said Pat Riley of the International Longshoreman’s Association. “Without potash it just does not work.” But it is working, with potash mined in Saskatchewan and shipped by rail to New Brunswick. Continue Reading →

Potash producer Nutrien eyes expansion as BHP ponders entry – by Rod Nickel (Reuters Canada – May 28, 2019)

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – Canada’s Nutrien Ltd, the world’s biggest producer of potash fertilizer, said on Tuesday that it was evaluating whether to expand its annual production capacity by 5 million tonnes after 2023, around the time that metals miner BHP Billiton is considering a move into potash.

In a presentation to investors in Toronto, Chief Executive Chuck Magro said the additional capacity would consist of expansions to existing Canadian mines during the next decade.

Nutrien currently has some 5 million tonnes of idled potash capacity due to soft prices in recent years. Continue Reading →