Mosaic to lay off 1,100 - may shut down Canada potash plants

12 January 2009 22:40  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Mosaic has issued layoff notices to more than 1,100 workers at two of its Canadian potassium chloride plants, the fertilizer producer said on Monday.

The layoffs signal that Mosaic is following up on its plans to substantially scale back production as global demand wanes.

The notices told union workers that the Esterhazy and Colonsay potash facilities in Canada's Saskatchewan province may halt production on 15 February and 8 March, respectively.

There are 360 workers with the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) at the Colonsay unit and 744 employees with the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) in Esterhazy.

Potassium chloride capacity is 1.325m tonnes/year at the Esterhazy facility and 1.215m tonnes/year at the Colonsay plant, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

Brad DeLorey, a spokesman for Mosaic's potash operations, said a decision has not been made on whether or not the plants will be shut down but notices need to, by law, be sent out in advance even if the plants stop production for a maintenance turnaround.

A decision will be made based on worldwide demand, which has been dwindling in the last few months.

"We are trying to match supply with world demand," DeLorey said

Mosaic said in December that it would scale back production capacity by 1m tonnes and last week hinted at additional production cuts, possibly by another 1m tonnes this year.

For more on Mosaic's potash plants, visit ICIS plants and projects
For more on fertilizers visit ICIS chemical intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Ryan Hickman
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