PSC: Rocanville Ramp-up Well Underway

Miners at Rocanville load potash onto conveyors underground.
PotashCorp of Saskatchewan (PCS) said that its potash portfolio optimization and cost reduction strategy, which includes the ramp-up of its low-cost Rocanville mine, contributed to its strong first-quarter results. “Potash market fundamentals continued to improve in the first quarter,” said Jochen Tilk, president and CEO, PCS. “We expect improved consumption trends and nutrient affordability in key markets to support potash demand and our results through the remainder of 2017. We are well into our Canpotex allocation audit process at Rocanville and anticipate our sales entitlement will increase for the second half of the year.”

Tilk said the company is also making good progress on its merger of equals with Agrium. “We continue to work through the regulatory process in key jurisdictions and remain confident the transaction will close mid-2017,” Tilk said. PCS said lower inventories led to consistent buyer engagement in potash during the first quarter. Deliveries increased to most major markets and contributed to modest increases in global spot prices from fourth-quarter 2016 levels.

“Despite a continued recovery in global spot prices during the first quarter, our average realized potash price of $166/mt was below the $178/mt realized in 2016’s first quarter, as weaker prices in standard-grade markets more than offset higher prices in North America,” Tilk said. “Increased production from our lower-cost mines — including Rocanville — resulted in average manufactured cost of goods sold for the quarter of $90/mt, down from $128/mt in the same period last year when we incurred suspension-related costs at Picadilly.” In the first quarter of 2016 PCS incurred costs of $32 million related to the suspension of production at its Picadilly facility in New Brunswick, Canada.

PCS reported first-quarter sales volumes of 2.2 million metric tons (mt), which were well above the 1.8 million mt sold in the same period last year. While North American volumes were 10% higher, offshore shipments increased by 31% due to stronger demand in all key markets. The majority of Canpotex’s volumes for the quarter were sold to Other Asian markets outside of China and India (36%) and Latin America (24%), while China and India accounted for 20% and 11%, respectively.

As featured in Womp 2017 Vol 05 -