Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PotashCorp) is cutting jobs and production at its Cory potash mine west of Saskatoon.
PotashCorp said approximately 100 full-time employees and 40 temporary positions are being laid off. Most of the job cuts will take place in February with the remainder during the company’s 2017 third quarter.
“This is a difficult day for our employees and their families, and we are committed to helping those affected through this transition,” PotashCorp president Mark Fracchia said in a statement.
“We are making this decision to optimize production to our lowest cost operations, including Rocanville and other Saskatchewan sites, where new capacity was added and employment levels have risen by approximately 265 since 2014.”
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The Saskatoon-based company also announced on Wednesday that production at the mine will move to white potash only.
Capacity is expected to be reduced to 0.8 million tonnes from the current 1.4 million tonnes of red and white potash.
Randy Burton, public relations and communications director for PotashCorp, said it makes sense economically for the company to halt red potash production at the Cory mine due to higher production costs.
PotashCorp said production at its Lanigan mine will be cut back for six weeks starting in January 2017 and production at the Allan facility will be curtailed for 12 weeks starting in February 2017.
“A significant number of staff will be kept on to do maintenance jobs and capital improvements at those mines when that occurs,” Burton said.
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“We have to prepare for inventory adjustment at these other mines so we just thought out of fairness to the employees, give them a heads up, let them know it’s coming down the road.”
The company said it has not yet determined how many employees will be affected when production is cut back at those mines.
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PotashCorp and Agrium recently announced a US$36 billion merger.
Joel Senick contributed to this story