Mosaic lays off 51 Canadian potash staff on industry woes

Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:20am EDT
 
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, March 25 (Reuters) - U.S.-based fertilizer company Mosaic Co said on Tuesday that it has laid off 51 workers at its Canadian potash operations, as the industry struggles to recover from low prices and weak demand.

Spokesman Rob Litt said the layoffs are spread out among Mosaic's operations in the western province of Saskatchewan, which include three potash mines and an office for the potash segment.

The laid-off workers mostly held office positions and none are union members. Mosaic issued the layoffs on Monday.

"Current market conditions required that we review our options to remain competitive while continuing to operate responsibly," Litt said in an email. "We remain committed to our investments in Saskatchewan, the sustainability of our operations and the communities where we operate."

Global demand for potash, a key crop nutrient, has grown more slowly than expected in recent years even as miners like Mosaic, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan and Agrium Inc expanded their Saskatchewan capacity.

In December, Potash Corp said it would slash its workforce by 18 percent, or more than 1,000 jobs, including 570 positions in its potash operations.

Mosaic shares gained 1.1 percent in New York to $48.94 in morning trading. (Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)