Canadian Mining Journal


POTASH: PotashCorp, Agrium in talks

SASKATOON – Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan has confirmed that it is in preliminary discussions with Calgary-based Agrium regarding a potential merger of equals. The company cautioned that no decision has been made as to whether to proceed with such a combination. Agrium issued an identical release Aug. 30, 2016.

Agrium owns the Vanscoy potash mine near the Saskatchewan town of that name. An expansion to the mine and plant completed in 2014 brought the nameplate capacity up to approximately 3.0 million tonnes per year. Agrium also owns the Kapuskasing, ON, phosphate mine that is currently closed.

PotashCorp owns and operates several potash mines in Saskatchewan – Allan, Cory, Lanigan, Patience Lake and Rocanville. Together they represent roughly 20% of the global potash mine output or almost 9 million tonnes in 2016. The company’s New Brunswick operation is suspended.

PotashCorp also owns the mineral rights at the Esterhazy, SK, mines. They are owned by Mosaic Co., and the two corporations have formed a joint operating company. Output here is about 5 million t/y, and the number will grow when the K3 shaft comes on stream, perhaps in 2017. PotashCorp also has non-controlling interests in potash operations in China, Chile, Israel, and Jordan.

A combination of the Agrium and PotashCorp would have an even larger share of world production, and the corporate bulk to prosper when (and if) BHP Billiton completes its Jansen potash mine, with a potential output of 8 million t/y, in Saskatchewan.

Watch or to find out whether or not the two decided to combine.