Archive | Saskatchewan Mining

Chile politics put Potash in tight spot on SQM stake sale – by Dave Sherwood and Felipe Iturrieta (Reuters U.S. – December 14, 2017)

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – The chance to own a stake in Chile’s SQM, one of the world’s top lithium producers, has attracted several potential suitors as prices for the so-called white gold – a key ingredient in electric car batteries – have skyrocketed.

But the buyer of the 32 percent of SQM being sold by Canadian Potash Corp of Saskatchewan‘s, which needs to divest the stake as part of a merger, will need to navigate tricky politics well before any deal is inked.

With a presidential election in Chile on Sunday, conservative billionaire Sebastian Pinera has emerged as the favorite with investors, but neither he nor his opponent in the second-round runoff, center-left candidate Alejandro Guillier, have expressed a favorable view of the scandal-plagued miner. Continue Reading →

Editorial: Cameco suspends 40% of production in face of oversupply – by John Cunning (Northern Miner – November 22, 2017)

Every mining subsector has its unofficial leader. It’s that company — usually with the largest market capitalization — that has arguably the best combination of top mineral deposits, superb operations, savvy management, high-quality workers, technical excellence, welcoming jurisdictions, a stable balance sheet and steady cash flow.

And that is what’s particularly distressing about the revelation in mid-November that uranium’s undisputed leader Cameco is suspending operations in northern Saskatchewan at its world-class McArthur River uranium mine and Key Lake mill that processes McArthur River ore. Key Lake is the world’s largest high-grade uranium mill.

Cameco owns 70% of McArthur River and 83% of Key Lake, and is operator at both, with France’s Areva owning the rest. Together, the operations produced 11.1 million lb. uranium oxide in the first nine months of 2017. Continue Reading →

Cameco Corp. takes another hit, but production cuts positive for uranium market – by Jonathan Ratner (Financial Post – November 9, 2017)

The patience of Cameco Corp. shareholders is being tested yet again, as the Saskatchewan-based uranium producer’s latest round of quarterly earnings fell short of expectations, and now the company is cutting its dividend and temporarily suspending work at two operations.

The news sent Cameo shares higher, as the production cut is expected to be beneficial to a global uranium market that is widely forecast to be oversupplied by approximately 20 million pounds in 2018.

“This is the type of supply side shock that is positive for the market, but negative for Cameco in the short term,” said Rob Chang, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald. “…These are necessary moves that reduce losses and actively help fix the global supply situation.” Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto joins race for stake in world’s largest lithium miner – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – November 8, 2017)

Canada’s PotashCorp must sell its interest in Chile’s SQM within 18 months of merging with Agrium, and Rio wants it.

Rio Tinto (ASX, LON:RIO) is said to be weighing an investment in Chile’s Chemical and Mining Society (SQM), the world’s largest lithium producer, becoming the latest in a long line of companies interested in grabbing a stake in the Santiago-based miner.

According to Chilean news site El Mostrador (in Spanish), the Anglo-Australian giant is eying the 32% interest in SQM that Canada’s Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX, NYSE:POT), the world’s largest producer of the fertilizer by capacity, has to sale to be allowed to merge with smaller rival Agrium (TSX, NYSE:AGU).

The Saskatoon-based potash miner is working with Goldman Sachs and BofA Merrill Lynch to sell its stake in SQM (worth about $4.5 billion at current market values), and so fulfill some of the conditions imposed by regulators in China and India to approve the company’s friendly merger with Agrium. Continue Reading →

World Mining Competition testing the mettle of students in Saskatoon – by Alicia Bridges (CBC News Saskatoon – October 29, 2017)

Mining engineer Sydney Miller had never met the students on her four-person team before the World Mining Competition started in Saskatoon on Friday. Within 36 hours, the group had developed a complex mining strategy in response to a detailed question in a 26-page case study.

On Sunday, the multi-disciplinary teams of business, engineering and geology students from around the world each got the chance to present those strategies to a panel of judges.

Speaking shortly after her team’s presentation in the preliminary round, Miller said it had been a sleep-depriving and challenging weekend so far. “We had to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses and set up the case accordingly to where we thrive,” she said. Continue Reading →

Looking for Clues to Fate of Fertilizer Rally Amid Surplus – by Jen Skerritt and Megan Durisin (Bloomberg News – October 25, 2017)

As fertilizer producers in North America enjoy late-season improvement in prices, investors are looking for clues from the companies this week about how much longer the gains will last.

While crop nutrients including nitrogen and potash have rebounded from recent lows, questions remain about the lingering impact of a global surplus and prospects for a slowdown in demand. Producers will begin reporting third-quarter results in the next week, starting Thursday with Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.

Potash Corp.

A rally in potash prices probably helped to boost earnings for the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company to 12 cents a share in the quarter, excluding some special items, compared to 9 cents a year earlier, according to 19 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Continue Reading →

SSR Mining eyes $90 million expansion at Seabee gold mine – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – October 24, 2017)

The new owner of Saskatchewan’s only gold mine is planning a seven-year, $90 million expansion it hopes will boost production, cut operating costs and extend the operation’s lifespan into the mid-2020s.

SSR Mining Inc.’s planned investment in the Seabee gold operation, which is about 125 kilometres northeast of La Ronge, is “really exciting,” said the president of the Saskatchewan Mining Association.

“I think the $90 million … that they’re looking at really sends a strong signal that they’re looking at re-investing in that whole area for the long-term. It’s really significant,” Pam Schwann said. Continue Reading →

Potash, Agrium merger moves toward final hurdles – by Jeffrey Jones (Globe and Mail – October 23, 2017)

More than a year in the making, the merger of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. looks to be inching to completion.

India – one of several countries with a say in the tie-up of two Canadian-based fertilizer producers – gave its blessing last week, on the condition some minority international interests are put on the block.

The country’s competition regulator agreed to the deal providing Potash sells its stakes in Arab Potash Co., Israel Chemicals Ltd. and Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA within 18 months. The companies can close their deal before divesting the assets, which are estimated to be worth more than $5-billion (U.S.). Continue Reading →

PotashCorp hires banks to lead sale of stake in Chilean lithium producer – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – September 24, 2017)

Canada’s Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX, NYSE:POT), the world’s largest producer of the fertilizer by capacity, is said to have hired Goldman Sachs and BofA Merrill Lynch to explore selling its stake in a Chilean lithium producer.

PotashCorp, which holds 32% of Chile’s Sociedad Quimica y Minera (SQM) and has three of eight board seats, is evaluating selling its part in the company to secure approval for its friendly merger with smaller rival Agrium (TSX, NYSE:AGU).

PotashCorp and Agrium said earlier this month their link-up would close several months later than previously anticipated as regulators in China and India put as a condition the divestment of certain minority interests the Canadian potash giant owns. Continue Reading →

‘Is it realistic to say it would be 50 per cent? No’: Mine workforce parity not likely in next decade, K+S says – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – September 18, 2017)

The company behind Saskatchewan’s newest potash mine employs a greater percentage of women than many of its competitors in the traditionally male-dominated industry, but its senior manager of human resources says achieving gender parity in the next decade will be a tall order.

Maryann Deutscher said that while K+S Potash Canada’s (KSPC) superintendent of primary mining is a woman and there are other similar success stories in the company, it will take time for perceptions about traditional and non-traditional roles to fade and a larger pool of women willing to work in engineering and the trades to develop.

“Is it realistic to say it would be 50 per cent? No, it’s probably not realistic because your pool’s just not there yet, right?” Deutscher said Tuesday in an interview before adding: “When you’re thinking 10 years, there’s people that have to be in those trades, in those operator-type roles now … Will it grow? It’d be great to see it even grow by 10 per cent and get up to that 25-30 per cent, for sure.” Continue Reading →

PotashCorp mulls selling stake in Chilean lithium producer SQM — report – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – September 13, 2017)

Canada’s Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX, NYSE:POT), the world’s largest producer of the fertilizer by capacity, may sell its stake in Chilean lithium miner SQM to secure approval for its friendly merger with smaller rival Agrium (TSX, NYSE:AGU).

PotashCorp, which holds 32% percent of SQM and has three of eight board seats, said earlier this week the Canadian competition bureau had okayed the merger as it concluded the transaction would not lead to a substantial lessening or prevention of local competition for products sold by both companies, including potash fertilizer, dry or liquid phosphate fertilizer and nitric acid.

The parties, however, warned the link-up is expected to close several months later than previously anticipated due in part to authorities in China and India who want the divestment of certain minority interests owned by PotashCorp. Continue Reading →

Merger of PotashCorp., Agrium slowed by regulatory hurdles – by Ian Bickis (Toronto Star – September 8, 2017)

Canadian Press – CALGARY—The friendly merger of PotashCorp. and Agrium Inc. is now expected to close several months later than the previous target date due to concerns raised by regulatory bodies in four countries.

The two Canadian fertilizer producers say they have made progress on the approval process in all jurisdictions, but the deal likely won’t close until the end of the year, rather than midyear as originally expected.

When the deal was announced last September, it was estimated the combined company would have an enterprise value of $36 billion (U.S.) by joining PotashCorp’s extensive mining operations with Agrium’s mining and global retail network. Continue Reading →

Premier Wall says he expects head-office pledge to be honoured after PotashCorp-Agrium merger – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – August 31, 2017)

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says he expects that the “spirit and the letter” of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.’s pledge to the province in the wake of BHP Billiton’s failed takeover bid will be reflected in Nutrien Ltd., the company that will be formed when PotashCorp and Agrium Inc. merge later this year.

To that extent, the outgoing premier said, Saskatchewan’s new energy and resources minister Nancy Heppner will in the coming weeks contact Saskatoon-based PotashCorp and Agrium, which is headquartered in Calgary, to ensure the new firm’s head office will in fact be located in Saskatchewan.

“We want to ensure that Saskatchewan, as the head office for this company, has the maximum number of head office jobs, that the presence in this province is indisputably the head office,” Wall told reporters Wednesday at Government House in Regina after shuffling his 17-member cabinet. Continue Reading →

Ex-PotashCorp CEO says industry lacks leadership, calls Agrium merger ‘sad’ – by Ian Vandaelle (Business Network News – August 28, 2017)

Bill Doyle is decrying the state of his former field, arguing the potash industry lacks strong leadership amid persistently weak prices. In an interview on BNN Monday, the former Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan chief executive said the industry has sacrificed prices at the altar of volumes, chasing larger market share instead of seeking to firm up market conditions for the underlying commodity.

“There’s just no one that’s stepped up to the plate that’s taking a leadership role,” he said. “Price is so much more important than volume and producing, according to the market. It’s one thing to pay lip service to it, it’s another thing to actually have the intestinal fortitude to do it.”

Prices of the fertilizer ingredient collapsed after Belarus’s Uralkali broke up the production cartel in 2013, effectively leaving producers to their own devices instead of seeking to balance supply and demand. Under Doyle, PotashCorp was considered the swing producer in the space, and was quick to curtail production when potash demand plummeted in 2009. Continue Reading →

K+S opens west coast terminal to ship potash from Legacy mine (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – August 28, 2017)

Just over a year after its new $4.1-billion Legacy mine began producing potash, K+S Potash Canada has opened the west coast facility that will allow it to ship potassium-laced salts extracted in Saskatchewan to customers in Asia and South America.

The Port Moody, B.C. storage and handling facility is the product of a 2014 agreement between K+S Potash Canada (KSPC) — a subsidiary of the Kassel, Germany-based K+S Group — and Pacific Coast Terminals Co. Ltd. (PCT).

According to the Saskatoon-based potash miner, the deal resulted in modifications of PCT’s existing facility and the construction of a new storage building capable of holding 160,000 tonnes of potash. The solution mine can produce up to 2.86 million tonnes per year. Continue Reading →