Alberta floods stop potash shipments to Canada's West Coast

Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:12pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

(Reuters) - Floods in Alberta have temporarily halted the movement of potash from mines to West Coast ports and shut a big beef processing plant and a fertilizer plant, but companies do not expect the impact to last for long.

Richard Downey, spokesman for Agrium Inc (AGU.TO: Quote), which owns export marketing agency Canpotex Ltd with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc (POT.TO: Quote) and Mosaic Co (MOS.N: Quote), said potash shipments to the West Coast from mines in Saskatchewan likely stopped late last week, but should resume within days after delays equivalent to those from a winter snowstorm.

The mines in Saskatchewan, the province that holds more than 40 percent of the world's known reserves of the crop nutrient, are not affected by the flooding.

Floods also led to the closing of Cargill Ltd's CARGIL.UL big beef-processing plant at High River, Alberta and CF Industries Holdings Inc's (CF.N: Quote) nitrogen fertilizer complex at Medicine Hat, Alberta.

The flood has had no significant impact on potash shipments from Canadian mines to North American markets, said Mosaic spokesman Rob Litt.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP.TO: Quote) reopened its main line west of Calgary through the Banff-Canmore region of Alberta on Monday and it expected to restore a segment of its south line to Lethbridge, Alberta, by Thursday.

The lines of Canadian National Railway Co (CNR.TO: Quote) lie outside the main flooded area and a CN spokesman said the company had not been affected.

Cargill said it closed its beef-processing plant as of Friday due to flooded roads and disruption of the fresh water supply.   Continued...