Saskatchewan

Mosaic laying off 46 at Colonsay, Sask., potash mine

Forty-six potash workers are losing their jobs at Mosaic's mine at Colonsay, Sask.

Permanent layoffs set for December

Layoffs are coming to Mosaic's potash mine just southeast of Colonsay, Sask. (Google Street View)

Forty-six potash workers are losing their jobs at Mosaic's mine at Colonsay, Sask.

The permanent layoffs take effect Dec. 14.

"We're extremely disappointed about this announcement considering the company is still massively profitable," said Mike Pulak, staff representative for the Steelworkers' union which represents the workers.

Mosaic's stock price hit a five-year low at the beginning of the month at $30.14 US a share. It closed Thursday at $35.17.

"Right now the supply chain pipeline is extremely full and it is an increasingly competitive market," Sarah Fedorchuk, an official from Mosaic, said Thursday. "We have expansions coming online, we have new entrants into the market and so we are having to make some tough decisions."

Mosaic offered early retirement packages to 90 employees, in an effort to avoid layoffs. After 22 workers accepted the incentive, the company moved to layoffs.

Mosaic's stock price has been on a steady decline over recent years. The stock was worth $88.11 per share in February of 2011.

Saskatchewan's Minister of the Economy, Bill Boyd, recently met with Mosaic officials and said he feels confident saying potash is going to bounce back.

"They're seeing much stronger sales orders coming forward than they have seen in a long time," Boyd said. "So they were quite optimistic that the numbers are turning around and that we have bottomed and are working our way out of it."

The union for the workers, the United Steelworkers, expressed hope that laid off workers would be recalled if potash production picked up, which is part of their collective bargaining agreement.

But Mosaic said it expects these layoffs to be permanent.

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