PotashCorp may raise 2015 potash output

(Dave Bedard photo)

Reuters — Saskatchewan’s PotashCorp, the world’s second-biggest potash producer, is recalling workers at some of its Canadian mines as it gears up for a possible rise in production in 2015, a senior executive said Wednesday.

The company cut its workforce by 18 per cent in December, including about 570 workers in potash operations. [Related story]

It said in June, however, it was rescinding about 50 layoff notices at its New Brunswick potash mine and recalling 47 workers at a Saskatchewan mine due to tight supplies of granular potash.

Chief financial officer Wayne Brownlee said at a Credit Suisse investor conference in New York that PotashCorp may raise its operational capability to between 10.5 million and 11 million tonnes of potash in 2015 from 9.2 million this year.

Expected growth in offshore markets and supply constraints at some of the company’s competitors may allow Saskatoon-based PotashCorp to boost volume, he said.

“What we’re looking at for 2015 is making sure we have enough to respond to better demand than we thought,” Brownlee said. “It’s a low-cost option and so we’re in the process of bringing some additional people back at some of our mines and make sure we’ve got the capability.”

Potash Corp often reduces actual production to support the price of potash, based on demand. It sells potash to overseas buyers through Canpotex, an export company it co-owns with fellow potash producers Mosaic Co. and Agrium.

— Rod Nickel is a Reuters correspondent based in Winnipeg.

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