Germany's K+S to close Sigmundshall potash site

29 November 2017 11:27 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--K+S will end potash production at Sigmundshall in late 2018 as crude salt reserves dwindle and mining conditions become more “demanding”, the German fertilizers producer announced on Wednesday.

In a move that impacts around 5% of the company’s 14,000-strong workforce, K+S will cease fertilizer operations at the site near Hannover by the end of next year.

“Mining conditions for extracting the raw materials at a depth of more than 1,400 metres are reaching human and technological limits,” the Kassel-based company said.

“In talks with workforce representatives and the trade union, new prospects and solutions are being discussed for the approximately 730 employees of the site.”

K+S noted that over the past three years, increased mining expenses have resulted in a steady decline in the site’s productivity.

“The decision to close the plant is not an easy one for us when we consider the workforce, which has done everything to make its site successful,” added K+S' chairman Burkhard Lohr.

“But all those involved have known for a long time that the crude salt reserves of the Bokeloh salt deposit are dwindling. Mining conditions are becoming more and more demanding. Despite the great commitment of the employees, the Sigmundshall plant can no longer be profitably operated.”

Discussions over the site’s commercial development started in late 2016, with one potential option the operation of the aluminium-salt slag recycling facility (REKAL facility) independently of potash production.

Pictured: A potash mine owned by K+S
Source: K+S

By Richard Ewing