Vanscoy mine will stay closed through January

December 18, 2019 5:24 pm

Nutrien is keeping its Vanscoy mine closed for at least an additional five weeks, which means more than 250 employees at Nutrien Vanscoy will be out of work until at least the end of January.

Nutrien Ltd. announced plans to temporarily shutter its Allan, Lanigan and Vanscoy operations in early September, citing a weaker global fertilizer market resulting in lower demand.

About 450 workers at the Allan and Lanigan mines are set to return to work on Dec. 29, approximately 255 employees at Vanscoy wer informed Wednesday morning they won’t be recalled until the end of January at the earliest.

Nutrien spokesman Will Tigley said the decision to keep Vanscoy, among Nutrien's higher-cost operations closed through January is due to continued weakness in the global potash market.

“The conditions are still not great, so just to maintain our inventory for that, Vanscoy (will be kept) shut down,” Tigley said.

“We understand how close it is to that (holiday) season, and it is a difficult announcement. The timing of it is just based on the business need and our need to continue to operate safely within our network.”

Meanwhile, Mosaic has indefinitely closed its Colonsay mine east of Saskatoon and conducted short-term shutdowns at its K1 and K2 potash operations near Esterhazy in southeast Saskatchewan.

Nutrien Rocanville, the company's lowest-cost mine was not among those affected by the announced shutdowns earlier in the fall, but was shut down for two weeks after CN workers went on strike, with Nutrien saying the two-week inventory shutdown was necessary because of the rail strike's impact on shipments from the mine, which is also the largest in Nutrien's system.