New Brunswick

PotashCorp to close Penobsquis mine at end of November

PotashCorp New Brunswick announced early Thursday it will stop potash mining operations at its Penobsquis mine by the end of November.

140 contract workers affected by closure as production shifts to Picadilly mine

Potash mining operations at its Penobsquis mine will stop by the end of November, according to PotashCorp. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

PotashCorp New Brunswick announced early Thursday it will stop potash mining operations at its Penobsquis mine near Sussex by the end of November.

The company says about 140 contract workers employed by Vic Progressive Diamond Drilling Inc. will be affected by the closure.

Potash production will shift to the adjacent Picadilly mine.

"This move will allow us to focus on production at the lower-cost Picadilly mine, which is the future of our operations in New Brunswick," said Mark Fracchia, president of PCS Potash.

"While it's never easy to close a facility and we understand the difficulty for those directly impacted by the decision, it is a necessary step in strengthening the sustainability of our company and our Picadilly operations."

The Penobsquis mine was closed early in 2014 following a company-wide review by PotashCorp, and a number of permanent employees were transferred to the new Picadilly mine and others were offered voluntary severance packages.

However, strength in global potash demand and customer requirements led the company to resume production at Penobsquis in August 2014.

PotashCorp planned to phase out operations at Penobsquis beginning early next year, but has opted to close it earlier.

"With Picadilly continuing to ramp up its operations and a weaker macroeconomic environment, the decision has been made to permanently close the operation at the end of November," said the company's statement.

Picadilly is expected to produce up to 1.8 million tonnes of potash when it is fully operational.


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