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Agrium says not considering potash job cuts

Rod Nickel
Tuesday, 3 Dec 2013 | 2:36 PM ET

Dec 3 (Reuters) - Canadian potash producer Agrium Inc said on Tuesday that it is not planning job cuts at its Vanscoy, Saskatchewan, mine, even after larger fertilizer rival Potash Corp of Saskatchewan revealed plans to slash staff.

Agrium spokesman Richard Downey said in an email to Reuters that the mine's operating rates can vary depending on the season and demand, but that is normal.

Potash Corp said Tuesday that it would slash its workforce by more than 1,000 jobs, or 18 percent, across its potash, phosphate and nitrogen businesses in Canada, the United States and Trinidad. Its potash business is the hardest hit, due to slumping demand and prices of the crop nutrient.

Mosaic Co, the second-biggest North American potash producer after Potash Corp, would not say directly whether production or job cuts are under consideration.

"We always monitor market conditions and align our resources to meet both short- and long-term demand, while remaining cost-competitive in the global market environment," spokesman Rob Litt said in a statement.

Mosaic, whose third-quarter profit plunged 70 percent, said on Nov. 5 that it would run its potash mines below 65 percent of capacity overall in the fourth quarter.

Shares of Mosaic, which is also a major phosphate producer, dropped 1.9 percent to $46.31 in New York by early afternoon.

Potash Corp stock was flat in New York and up slightly at C$33.78 in Toronto, while Agrium was down by less than 1 percent in both markets.

Potash Corp's cuts affect 440 workers in Potash Corp's home province of Saskatchewan, which counts on potash revenues for about 3.5 percent of its C$11 billion ($10.4 billion) budget.

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