Mosaic plans long-term Sask. expansions

Fertilizer producer Mosaic has laid out plans to spend $3.15 billion expanding its potash mines at three sites in Saskatchewan over the next 12 years.

Mindful of rising global demand from the crop nutrition market, the Minnesota company — which announced 680,000 tonnes of planned capacity expansions by 2012 at its Belle Plaine and Colonsay properties in May last year — added to those in an announcement Friday, including plans for its property at Esterhazy.

Market conditions permitting, the company now plans to expand its capacity at Colonsay, east of Saskatoon, by 300,000 tonnes per year by next year, and by another one million tonnes per year between 2013 and 2016, at a total cost of $530 million.

At Belle Plaine, between Regina and Moose Jaw, the company proposes to add 100,000 tonnes of capacity by 2010, a further 400,000 tonnes by 2012 and another 1.5 million tonnes between 2014 and 2017, at a total cost of $920 million.

And at Esterhazy, in the province’s southeast, Mosaic proposes to add 900,000 tonnes of capacity by 2012 and a further 900,000 tonnes by 2020, at a total cost of $1.7 billion.

“We believe the global demand and supply fundamentals support this growth
in our capacity and will allow us to fulfill our growing customer needs,” Mosaic CEO Jim Prokopanko said in the company’s release Friday.

Saskatchewan produces about a third of the world’s potash, with 2007 sales of about $3 billion. About $22 million was spent on potash exploration alone in the province in 2007, and the provincial government expects that to increase to $50 million in 2008.

Provincial Resources Minister Bill Boyd said in a separate release that Mosaic’s plans were a “vote of confidence” in the province, and that Saskatchewan’s “competitive business climate and stable royalty regime” were attracting new investment to its resource sector.

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