Going Off the MAP at Redwater

Published: May 08, 2019

After a half-century of producing monoammonium phosphate (MAP) to help growers enhance their yields, the last railcar of MAP has left Nutrien’s facility in Redwater, Alberta. The plant is being repurposed to produce ammonium sulfate.

"It was a very special day, made even more special by having Al Rosenthal, our 50-year employee, shut down the plant for us," says Ron Jennings, general manager at Redwater. "Al was here when they started up the plant in 1969, so it’s very fitting that he was the one to shut it down."

In a move made to simplify our phosphate operations and make them more cost-effective, Nutrien will now be able to use available capacity at our two remaining phosphate plants in Aurora, North Carolina and White Springs, Florida. With both plants located near key markets, and due to the high quality of our rock, those plants produce a diverse mix of phosphate products, including solid and liquid fertilizers, feed and industrial acids.

A long time in the works, this strategic move allowed us to eliminate the purchase of imported phosphate rock, while driving down per-tonne costs significantly. The increase in production at the two remaining plants is expected to offset the reduction in supply from our Redwater facility, and ensure a continued supply of phosphate products to our customers in Western Canadian.

"We close on one chapter and move on to the next. Very exciting times ahead of us," says Ron.

What happens next is a lengthy turnaround to prepare the plant for that next chapter. Nutrien already operates a large nitrogen plant at the Redwater site, and this move is expected to double the site’s ammonium sulfate capacity to 700,000 tonnes per year, by the third quarter of 2019.