Potash Corp mine closure may lead to shelving Canpotex port plans

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan's decision last week to suspend production at an Eastern Canadian mine may lead to it shelving plans to build a new West Coast shipping terminal with partners Mosaic Co. and Agrium Inc., Potash Chief Executive Jochen Tilk said on Thursday.

Canpotex Ltd, owned by the three companies, has been considering construction of the terminal at Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

Potash said on Tuesday it would shut its newest mine, Picadilly, in New Brunswick, due to weak market conditions.

The company also said its storage and loading facilities at Saint John, New Brunswick, with capacity of handling 2.5 million tonnes annually, could now be used by Canpotex.

It ships potash offshore that Potash Corp, Mosaic and Agrium produce in the western province of Saskatchewan.

The decision allows Canpotex to "indefinitely defer" a decision on the C$900 million Prince Rupert terminal, Tilk said at a CIBC investor conference in Whistler, British Columbia.

"We certainly don't anticipate making that decision in the next 10 years, so we're very good with our port facilities on the West Coast and on the East Coast," he said.

Potash spokeswoman Denita Stann said after Tilk's comments that he was speaking about options available to Canpotex and that it had not concluded any decision.

Canpotex could not be immediately reached.

Tilk also said Potash Corp's board of directors would discuss the company's dividend next week. Analysts have speculated that Potash will reduce its dividend.


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