Archive | Potash/Phosphate

‘Something forward-thinking, with the promise of innovation’: PotashCorp, Agrium to merge as Nutrien – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – June 21, 2017)

A process engineer from Ohio and business manager from Texas came up with the ideas that inspired Nutrien Inc., the name of the new company that will be formed in the planned merge of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. later this year.

Announced Wednesday, almost 10 months after the companies confirmed that a US$26-billion deal was in the works, the name emerged from a massive contest that resulted in employees from the two companies submitting more than 4,000 ideas.

“Quite literally, the list of names went from ‘Abundantly’ to ‘Zon Terra,’” PotashCorp spokesman Randy Burton said, adding that most of the suggestions — from the Latin “Fertilis” to the Greek “Auxesia” — reflected the combined companies’ businesses. Continue Reading →

BHP aims to grow potash mining into a core business – by Kaori Takahashi (Nikkei Asian Review – June 5, 2017)

Resource giant weighs sell-off of US shale gas assets in restructuring drive

SYDNEY — BHP Billiton is increasing its investment in potash mining and seeking to divest its U.S. shale gas assets. Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of the world’s largest miner, told The Nikkei that “under some circumstances, we might start to grow potash to the size of our iron ore business today.”

Mackenzie said BHP will continue its restructuring effort. It is looking for an opportunity to sell its shale gas business, which has seen its profitability deteriorate, to focus more on potash, potentially bringing it into line with the company’s dominant iron ore business which reaps over $9 billion a year.

“It’s taken us 50 years to create today’s iron ore business. It will be another 50 years to create a potash equivalent. So you have to start somewhere,” Mackenzie said. Continue Reading →

BHP talks up Saskatchewan potash project – by Matt Chambers (The Australian – May 23, 2017)

BHP’s board could have the most expensive ­single development approval ­decision in the miner’s history in front of it next financial year, in the form of a $US4.7 billion ($6.3bn) investment in the Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan.

Lost in the ramp-up of activist fund Elliott Management’s hostilities last week was the revelation that the miner is nearly ready to give approval to the first production stage of the Jansen project, where it has approved $US3.8bn to sink 1km-deep shafts to get to the big potash deposit.

The enthusiastic BHP mood around potash will create trepidation among some investors that the Elliott push to create value through an oil and gas restructure and share unification is accelerating potash development, while Canadian analysts have queried whether the global potash market can support it. Continue Reading →

Morocco phosphate ship held in Panama over Western Sahara challenge – officials – by Patrick Markey (Daily Mail/Reuters – May 18, 2017)

ALGIERS, May 18 (Reuters) – Panama authorities have detained a Moroccan phosphate shipment from the disputed territory of Western Sahara after the Polisario independence movement claimed the cargo had been transported illegally, Polisario and officials said on Thursday.

The detention of the vessel carrying phosphate rock cargo from Morocco’s OCP for Canada’s Agrium is the second tanker stopped this month by a Polisario legal challenge, a new tactic the independence movement has been using in its conflict with Morocco.

Western Sahara has been disputed since 1975, when Morocco claimed it as part of the kingdom and the Polisario fought a guerrilla war for the Sahrawi people’s independence. A 1991 ceasefire split the region in two between what Morocco calls its southern provinces and an area controlled by Polisario. Continue Reading →

BHP stays course on Canada potash mine few expected built – by Rod Nickel (Reuters U.S. – May 18, 2017)

NEW YORK – BHP Billiton Ltd’s (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) Canadian potash mine will use advanced, cost-saving technology, giving it a competitive edge in a currently over-supplied fertilizer market, the executive in charge of the business said on Thursday.

Australia-based BHP aims to start potash production at Jansen, Saskatchewan in 2023, the company said this week, eventually producing 4 million tonnes annually.

The mine is already under construction but requires BHP’s board to approve another $4.7 billion to bring Jansen into production. That decision may happen as early as June 2018. Continue Reading →

Exclusive – Chinese company confirms huge UK fertiliser deal – by Alasdair Pal and Adam Jourdan (Reuters U.K. – May 17, 2017)

LONDON/SHANGHAI – A small Chinese company that is key to plans by Sirius Minerals to build a huge fertilizer mine under a national park in the north of England has confirmed it has a binding agreement with the UK firm.

DianHuang CEO Wang Xiaotian reiterated the agreement in a letter to Reuters on May 15, saying it had been signed on May 27 last year. DianHuang would buy 150,000 tonnes of the mineral polyhalite a year from first extraction in 2021, scaling up to a million tonnes a year over five years as part of plans to grow peony flowers and extract edible oil from their seeds, he said.

The reassurance from Wang followed a May 8 telephone interview with Reuters in which he said the two firms were still negotiating. The DianHuang deal is the biggest take-or-pay agreement Sirius has inked so far with a named customer. By demonstrating confirmed demand for its product, it helped Sirius raise $1.2 billion in financing for the mine and win planning permission from the North York Moors national park. Continue Reading →

Agrium, Potash Corp. face new challenge over African phosphate imports – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – May 15, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG — A South African court decision, allowing the seizure of a cargo ship with 50,000 tonnes of phosphate, could open the door to renewed challenges of Canadian imports from a disputed territory in the deserts of North Africa.

Two Canadian companies, Potash Corp. and Agrium Inc., last year accounted for nearly half of all exports of phosphate from Western Sahara, a territory claimed by Morocco since 1975. Those shipments could face new scrutiny and more intense legal challenges as a result of the South African court decision.

The court case in South Africa is believed to be the first time a national independence movement has won a legal action to intercept the export of state property. Continue Reading →

How to Stop CEOs Chasing Harebrained Ideas – by Chris Hughes (Bloomberg News – May 8, 2017)

Pay out cash to shareholders and that will stop bosses wasting it on empire-building deals. This is activism-101 and it’s a big component in the dual-fronted assault on Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton Ltd. The snag is that, in this industry at least, siphoning out cash to the max is a counterproductive way of keeping managers in check.

Hedge fund Elliott Advisors thinks BHP will generate $31 billion of excess cash flow in the next five years. It wants $33 billion returned to shareholders in a five-year buyback program to thwart management doing bad M&A.

Sydney-based Tribeca Investment Partners is just as concerned about misguided capital spending coming after bad M&A — throwing good money after bad. It cites BHP’s foray into the U.S. onshore energy business, calculating that this has delivered a cumulative cash outflow of $26 billion and substantial impairment charges, which may not be over. It wants the operation sold and part of the proceeds returned to investors. Continue Reading →

K+S opens new potash mine; first new mine in Saskatchewan in more than 40 years – by Jennifer Graham (Saskatoon Star Phoenix – May 2, 2017)

BETHUNE, Sask. — The first tonne of marketable potash is expected to be produced at the end of June from the first new mine in Saskatchewan in more than 40 years. After five years of construction, German fertilizer company K+S AG is opening the new mine near the village of Bethune, about 70 kilometres north of Regina.

“To tell you the truth, we made the investment decision at a time when prices were significantly higher,” Norbert Steiner, the CEO of K+S AG, said Tuesday at the opening ceremony. “But when you are on the road to build such a big plant, you are well advised that you continue the building of the plant until it is finished,” Norbert said.

“But still, we are of the opinion that the cost that we will have for the production of our products here in Saskatchewan will be significantly lower compared to the prices that we have right now in the industry and, therefore, we foresee that we have a positive (earnings before interest, taxes and amortization) already in 2018 and of course the better years will come afterwards.” Continue Reading →

Storage wars: New U.S. potash player K+S faces warehouse squeeze – by Rod Nickel (Reuters U.S. – May 1, 2017)

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA – May 1 Germany’s K+S AG will crack into the U.S. fertilizer market this spring when it opens the first new western Canadian potash mine in nearly five decades. But the fifth-largest global potash seller faces a stiff challenge before it makes a single delivery: where to store the pink granular nutrient until farmers need it.

The U.S. market for potash – a key type of fertilizer used to grow corn and wheat – is already dominated by Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, Agrium Inc and Mosaic. It’s also saturated: potash prices are near nine-year lows.

Not only do these market leaders have an ample supply of potash, they also boast a string of warehouses built strategically across the Midwest where they can quickly distribute their product to U.S. farmers, who have a narrow window every spring to fertilize. Continue Reading →

Potash Market Rebound in ‘Full Force’ as Global Demand Improves – by Jen Skerritt (Bloomberg News – April 27, 2017)

Potash prices are recovering after a decade of weakness, lifting the prospects of a turnaround in fortunes for fertilizer companies following a slump in farm spending.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., the world’s second-biggest producer, boosted its full-year earnings forecast on Thursday and said strong demand will continue for the rest of the year as North American farmers seek to replenish soil nutrients after record harvests. Chinese potash shipments are expected to increased in 2017, it added.

The Canadian company’s performance suggests the potash recovery is in “full force,” Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Jonas Oxgaard said in a note. Canpotex — the joint venture handling overseas sales for Potash Corp. and its two largest North American peers, Agrium Inc. and Mosaic Co. — has kept the market tight and driven up prices, while volumes have exceeded expectations in North America and export markets, a positive sign for the companies, he said. Continue Reading →

Western Potash announces plans to move ahead on Milestone Project – by Ashley Robinson (Regina Leader-Post – April 16, 2017)

The Rural Municipality of Lajord isn’t holding its breath when it comes to the Western Potash project at Milestone. “(Western Potash) told us eight years ago they’re going to be (building it) so thats the bottom- line. I can’t get excited anymore, when we see things move ahead then we’ll start getting excited,” said Erwin Beitel, reeve of RM of Lajord.

The long-delayed potash mine is once again slated to move forward. On Tuesday, Western Potash held an open house in Kronau — one of many held over the years.

The project was first proposed in 2009, with an original plan to produce 2.8 million tonnes of potash per year. At the time potash prices were US$400 per tonne, but then the economy dipped and potash prices fell, causing the project to be delayed. Continue Reading →

Federal government passes landmark First Nations mining regulations – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – March 30, 2017)

A landmark law passed this week by the federal government helps pave the way for a Saskatchewan First Nation and a Toronto-based potash development company to build the country’s first on-reserve mine northeast of Regina.

The “unprecedented” legislation under the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (FNCIDA) will apply provincial regulations to the $3-billion mine proposed by Enancto Potash Corp. and Muskowekwan First Nation.

“This represents a critical piece … to ensure a favourable investment climate for the development of the first potash mine on First Nations land,” Encanto president and CEO Stavros Daskos said in a statement. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act Finalized by Order in Council to Allow for Future on Reserve Potash Mine Development


VANCOUVER, March 29, 2017 /CNW/ – Encanto Potash Corp. (“Encanto” or the “Company”) (TSXV: EPO) announces that an Order in Council P.C. 2017-258 was issued on March 24, 2017 by the Governor in Council, ending a multi-year process that has culminated in the successful conclusion of the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (“FNCIDA”) process and the delivery of the Muskowekwan First Nation Solution Potash Mining Regulations into law.

The process enables the Muskowekwan First Nation, who had decided to pursue a large scale commercial or industrial on-reserve project (in this case, a large scale potash mine partnered with Encanto Potash) to request the Government of Canada to develop regulations applying to this specific project on a specific piece of reserve land.

FNCIDA works by essentially reproducing the provincial rules and regulations that apply to similar large-scale commercial or industrial projects off reserves and applying them to a specific on-reserve project. Continue Reading →

Encanto Potash and Muskowekwan First Nation sign new mining regulation agreement – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – February 28, 2017)

Encanto Potash Corp. has signed an agreement with Muskowekwan First Nation and the provincial and federal governments that it says will pave the way for construction of its proposed potash mine on the reserve northeast of Regina.

The agreement is expected to lead to the first First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (FNCIDA), legislation that applies existing provincial rules to large-scale projects on First Nations land, the Toronto-based company said in a news release.

“By achieving this milestone, the first ever for such a planned large scale operation in Canada, we have been breaking entirely new ground,” Muskowekwan Chief Reginald Bellerose said in a statement. Continue Reading →