PotashCorp suspends Picadilly mine operations in Canada amid weak prices

19 January 2016 (Last Updated January 19th, 2016 18:30)

PotashCorp has announced the suspension of operations at its $1.51bn Picadilly potash mine operation in Canada's New Brunswick as part of its efforts to cut costs.

PotashCorp has announced the suspension of operations at its $1.51bn Picadilly potash mine operation in Canada's New Brunswick as part of its efforts to cut costs.

The company's latest decision comes amid weak global markets for potash and is expected to result in a workforce reduction of around 420-430 people in New Brunswick.

The company plans to retain 35 employees at Picadilly to keep the operation in care and maintenance mode.

PotashCorp president and CEO Jochen Tilk said: "While these are important steps in running a sustainable business and positioning the company to best meet the needs of its many stakeholders over the long term, such decisions are never easy.

"Such decisions are never easy."

"We understand the significant impact to our people in New Brunswick and the surrounding communities, and are committed to helping those affected through this challenging time."

The suspension of its New Brunswick operations will allow company to optimise production to its lower-cost potash operations and remove significant capital expenditures, including capital of about $50m in 2016 and $135m in 2017-18.

PotashCorp said it hopes to increase reduce cost of goods sold by $40m-$50m in 2016 by optimising production.

The company's international customers will now be served from Saskatchewan through Canpotex, which will have access to its storage and loading facilities at the port of Saint John, including capacity of up to 2.5 million tonnes per year.

Following suspension, the Picadilly mine will be placed in care and maintenance mode at an estimated annual cost of $20m in 2016 and $15m in subsequent years.

Production at Picadilly began in 2014, but the mine has been unable to reach full production capacity since then.