Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan has suspended its potash operations near Picadilly, New Brunswick. More than 420 miners will lose their jobs as a result of the indefinite suspension. The company said it will retain a core crew of 35 employees to keep the operation in care-and-maintenance mode.

More than 100 open positions will be available for New Brunswick employees to join the company’s Saskatchewan operations, along with relocation assistance.

“We are committed to making this transition the best it can be under the circumstances,” said PotashCorp President and CEO Jochen Tilk. “Employees who do not remain at Picadilly or who choose not to relocate to Saskatchewan will be provided severance and assistance packages.”

The company will also be establishing a CDN$5 million community investment fund.

“By optimizing our production, we expect to increase our competitiveness and reduce cost of goods sold by $40-$50 million in 2016, although this will be partially offset by severance and transition costs,” Tilk said. “The suspension of potash operations at Picadilly will also eliminate significant capital expenditures, including capital of approximately $50 million in 2016 and $135 million in 2017-2018.”

The New Brunswick operations have been on inventory adjustment shutdown since the end of November, the suspension of operations will be effective immediately. In addition to the core crew of people who will continue to be employed for care-and-maintenance, the company anticipates that up to 100 employees will remain in place through a transitional period of four months. As originally planned, environmental remediation work and care-and-maintenance at Cassidy Lake will continue, as will decommissioning at Penobsquis.

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