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India fertilizer giant eyes Saskatchewan potash

winnipeg / reuters Western Potash Corp., a junior mining company looking to build a potash mine southeast of Regina, says it is talking about a joint venture with India’s Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers, among others.

It hopes to open the $2.5-billion Milestone mine by 2016 and eventually produce 2.8 million tonnes of potash annually.

“We have talked to and are talking to (Rashtriya),” said company vice-president John Costigan. “I would say right now they’re one of numerous players. These big companies move very slowly, and we’re proceeding cautiously too. We don’t want to get in bed with the wrong player.”

Rashtriya’s chairman, R.G. Rajan, said the state-run company is considering a possible $1-billion investment in Canadian potash mines to secure long-term supply of the nutrient.

The world’s two biggest mining companies, BHP Billiton and Vale SA, recently delayed decisions on building their own potash mines in Saskatchewan, home to more than 40 per cent of the world’s potash reserves.

New Zealand forecasters predict El Niño will be short and weak

wellington / reuters El Niño weather conditions will likely be weak and short lived, according to New Zealand scientists.

El Niño is a warming of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific that occurs every four to 12 years and can have far-ranging effects around the globe, particularly on food output.

“A weak, short-lived El Niño is predicted for the spring and summer periods,” the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere said in its latest climate outlook.

Sea surface temperatures have risen to above accepted El Niño levels, but other indicators such as the strength of trade winds are still close to normal.

The El Niño would likely “decay” in the first quarter of 2013, the agency predicted.

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