Revamping Nutrien’s Phosphate Operations

The merger that created Nutrien has always been about more than getting bigger. It’s also about doing things better – and that’s why we’re making some changes to our phosphate portfolio.

After the merger was completed in January 2018, the company conducted a thorough review on how to optimize its newly combined businesses. One of the key decisions that came out of that review was a rebalancing and repurposing of our North American phosphate assets.

The company decided to convert its phosphate facility in Redwater, Alberta, which relied on imported phosphate rock from offshore sources, to produce ammonium sulfate instead. 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.

Nutrien will also close its smaller Geismar, Louisiana phosphate facility, which also relied on imported phosphate rock.  We will also significantly increase production of monoammonium phosphate (MAP) and other products at our phosphate facilities in Aurora, North Carolina and White Springs, Florida.  Both of these facilities are supplied by their own rock mines. 

“This increase in production is expected to fully offset the reduction in supply from our Redwater facility, and ensure a continued supply of phosphate products to our Western Canadian market,” says Raef Sully, Nutrien’s President of Nitrogen and Phosphate.

As a result of these changes, Nutrien will become fully self-sufficient in phosphate rock production in 2019, and its average per-tonne phosphate costs are expected to be reduced.

“All rock purchases from OCP (Western Sahara) will be finished by early 2019,” Raef adds. “These actions are expected to contribute significantly to our anticipated merger synergies, which will strengthen our company and better enable us to continue to feed the future.”