Worldwide demand for potash continues to increase due to supply issues from central Europe and mounting demand. As inventories drop, potash producers are gearing up to increase production and restore inventories.
One of those is relatively new entry to the market, BHP, with its Jansen Project, set to become the largest potash producer in the world at the project’s top capacity. According to BHP’s Operational Review ending June 30, 2022, the company is working to bring initial production forward to 2026. The report notes that the shaft which provides potash access to the surface was completed in the June 2022 quarter, and with Stage 1 tracking to plan, the company is continuing to work toward a 2026 initial production.
The $7 billion investment planted into the project signalled the move to secure product at an original projected date of 2027. The significant increase in price, driven by demand, has other producers seeking to increase production. In a recent news release, Nutrien CEO Ken Seitz noted an intent to see production ramp up 49 percent by 2025. K + S has followed suit with its Bethune mine announcing plans for a four million tonne increase per year. Finally, Mosaic has signalled an increase to 1.5 million tonnes at each of its Colonsay and Esterhazy sites as early as the final quarter of 2023.
In each of these cases, it bodes well for returning or new workers in the potash industry. All of Saskatchewan’s potash producers are bolstering their work numbers, while BHP will no doubt be in a position to accelerate hiring of production workers to meet its revised plans.