Potash Corp cuts jobs, Canadian potash output as prices sag

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Fertilizer maker Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc said on Wednesday that it was reducing jobs and output at one Canadian mine and temporarily curtailing production at two others as the sector struggles with weak prices.

The PotashCorp Cory Mine facility is pictured near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan October 10, 2013. REUTERS/David Stobbe

The company said it would cut production at its Cory, Saskatchewan, mine to 0.8 million tonnes a year from 1.4 million, resulting in a reduction of 100 jobs and 40 temporary positions starting in February.

Also in Saskatchewan, Potash will curtail production for six weeks at its Lanigan mine starting in January and for 12 weeks at Allan starting in February.

The changes come after potash prices fell to decade lows this year due to excessive global capacity, although they have recently improved. Potash Corp is still completing a multiyear expansion of its Rocanville, Saskatchewan, mine.

The production cuts will allow the company to best use output from its lowest-cost mines, including Rocanville, Mark Fracchia, president of its potash division, said in a statement.

Potash Corp has long matched supply to demand, and that practice will continue, spokesman Randy Burton said.

“We hope and expect nothing further will be required” in production cuts, he said.

Potash Corp shares dipped 1 percent in New York.

Rival Mosaic Co is looking to restart its idled potash mine at Colonsay, Saskatchewan next year, and K+S AG plans to open a new mine in the province in 2017.

Pending regulatory approval, Potash Corp is merging with rival Agrium Inc, which runs a potash mine at Vanscoy, Saskatchewan.

Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Lisa Von Ahn