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OTTAWA— Potash Corp. chief executive Bill Doyle expects to see steadily rising worldwide demand for the fertilizer and the need for new export capacity from Western Canada, despite the recent price weakness that has led global producers to cut back on supply.
Western Canadian potash exports should double in the coming decade and, as a result, the industry will need new port facilities in British Columbia, Mr. Doyle said in an interview Tuesday.
In partnership with CN Rail, Canpotex, the marketing arm of Saskatchewan potash producers, has proposed a new export terminal in Prince Rupert, B.C. Mr. Doyle said he expects an investment decision to be made on the $800-million project this year.
“As we grow from 9.8 million tonnes to 20 million tonnes not too far down the road, we have to have the port facilities and infrastructure to be able to handle that,” he said, citing forecast growth for Canpotex, which supplies potash to Asian and other international markets.
Last November, Canpotex submitted the necessary environmental impact statement to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, and has since been meeting with regulatory authorities and first nations to review and address any concerns. The company hopes to have regulatory approvals before the end of the year.
Mr. Doyle expects global demand to revive this spring, after being sluggish in the past two quarters. This winter, producers have cut production to shore up prices, but he expects that restraint will not be necessary by the end of March, when spring planting season begins.
Over the longer term, a growing population and rising incomes will support increase demand for potash, which is a critical fertilizer, and Potash Corp. foresees long-term growth of 3 per cent per annum in consumption.
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