PotashCorp adds Allan mine to shutdown schedule

Citing "seasonal slowness" in potash markets, the world’s biggest potash producer has booked a one-month shutdown for another of its Saskatchewan mines.

Saskatoon-based PotashCorp has announced what it calls an "inventory adjustment," or shutdown, at its mine at Allan, Sask., about 50 km southeast of Saskatoon, to run from Feb. 5 to March 3.

Bill Johnson, the company’s senior director for public affairs, wrote in an email that the shutdowns are intended to "match our production to customer demand and some seasonal slowness in the markets."

The company last month announced a six-week shutdown at its mine at Rocanville, Sask., about 125 km southeast of Yorkton, to run from Christmas until Feb. 4.

Another eight-week shutdown is already underway at the company’s mine at Lanigan, about 40 km south of Humboldt, running from Jan. 8 to March 3.

The Allan shutdown comes as work continues on a $550 million expansion program at the site, launched in 2008 with the goal of ramping up the facility’s "operational capability" to 2.7 million tonnes per year. The expansion work is to run through to late this year.

The Allan shutdown also comes in the wake of a slip in the company’s share prices last week, tracking a dip in grain prices and following a new "underperform" rating on its shares from a National Bank analyst.

Global potash supply, Robert Winslow wrote last Wednesday, is likely to increase more than demand, while improving global grain inventories are likely to drag on prices.

Related stories:

PotashCorp shares dip on grain prices, brokerage rating, Jan. 4, 2012

PotashCorp plans more layoffs: reports, Oct. 26, 2009

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