Nutrien to ramp up production in Sask

June 13, 2022, 7:14 am
Kevin Weedmark


Nutrien announced Thursday that it will hire hundreds of additional employees and invest in equipment to boost potash production capability to 18 million tonnes by 2025, ­a nearly 5 million tonne, or 40 per cent increase, from Nutrien’s production in 2020.

The company will hire and train 350 people across the province and invest in underground mining equipment, mine development, storage and loadout capacity to meet that target.

The announcement Thursday follows a previous announcement that Nutrien would hire 150 people and increase its potash production capability to 15 million tonnes in 2022.

“The challenge of feeding a growing world has never been clearer as global supply constraints have contributed to higher commodity prices and escalated concerns for global food security. There is no simple or fast solution to overcome this challenge and we see potential for multi-year strength in agriculture and crop input market fundamentals,” said Ken Seitz, Nutrien’s Interim President and CEO.

“Nutrien’s integrated business is best positioned to respond to these supply challenges and help sustainably feed a growing world. We are safely bringing on additional low-cost potash and nitrogen production from our existing facilities, while delivering the products, services and solutions growers need through our leading global retail network,” added Seitz.

Accelerating potash production ramp-up
Nutrien is accelerating the ramp-up of its annual potash production capability to 18 million tonnes by 2025 in response to the uncertainty of supply from Eastern Europe.

This represents an increase of more than 5 million tonnes, or 40 per cent, compared to our production in 2020. The acceleration pathway is through existing low-cost capacity that is unmatched in the industry and supported by its global logistics infrastructure.

The incremental production capability is expected to be added at a similar annual pace to the additions over the past two years.

To boost production, the company will hire and train approximately 350 people and invest in underground mining equipment, mine development, storage and loadout capacity.

Nutrien continues to evaluate additional low-cost brownfield expansion opportunities beyond 18 million tonnes at its Saskatchewan mines that would supply longer-term market demand growth.

Rocanville already operating at capacity
The focus on adding capacity will be on mines elsewhere in the province, as Rocanville is already working close to its maximum capacity.

“Based on the announcement today and the path to 18 million metric tonnes by 2025, investment will be focused on Lanigan, Cory, Vanscoy and Allan,” said BJ Arnold of Nutrien.

“Rocanville is already operating at effective maximum current installed capacity while still having safe and reliable production.

“The Rocanville site is currently working on optimizing its assets and improving reliability, developing its future mine ore body alongside large infrastructure and mill rehabilitation programs.”

Nutrien looking at brownfield expansion opportunities
Arnold said Nutrien is looking at brownfield expansion opportunities in the province, which means adding capacity to existing mines.

“We are currently focused on our path to 18 mmt by 2025,” he said.

“Looking beyond 18 million tonnes of operational capability, Nutrien sees potential for an additional five million tonnes of brownfield opportunities which can also be brought on in increments, as needed, to fill market demand.

“The majority of the capital work involved at the sites would relate to mill capacity increases, underground development, procuring mining equipment, expanding site logistics and storage upgrades.”

Arnold said Nutrien can’t say right now where those opportunities may be.

“Our current focus is on developing the 18 mmt capacity by 2025,” he said. “While we cannot comment on the specifics of where the 5 mmt of brownfield expansion will come from at this time, all of our six low-cost mines in Saskatchewan will be examined for their potential to contribute to that growth.”