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Nutrien says no plans to close potash mines as it looks to boost efficiencies

Nutrien says it has no plans at this time to close any of its smaller, more costly potash mines. File / Global News

Fertilizer giant Nutrien Ltd. said it plans to keep its six potash mines running for now even as it looks to shift production to its most efficient operations.

The company, which formed at the start of the year out of the merger of PotashCorp and Agrium Inc., said it will however look at the end of the year whether it makes sense to close any of its smaller, more costly mines.

READ MORE: Nutrien reports $40M in cost savings as it looks to $500M target

Nutrien CEO Chuck Magro said the global market for potash looks strong with robust demand, but that with more supply from competitors coming on-line this year the company will have to reassess the market as the year progresses.

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The combined company is in a major efficiency push to make good on a promised $500 million in annual savings from the merger, with the company already shedding some 200 rail cars and extensive warehouse space.

Before the merger, PotashCorp had shut its New Brunswick mine and cut back production at some Saskatchewan facilities as it looked to boost production at its recently expanded and low-cost Rocanville mine.

Edward Jones analyst Dan Sherman said the company is well-placed to optimize production because it has a strong asset base, but that the whole potash market is in a wait-and-see mode as supply is set to ramp up.