IM Agriminerals News in Brief 19 December – 8 January

By James Sean Dickson
Published: Friday, 08 January 2016

Scotiabank airs suggestion of PotashCorp taking over Intrepid Potash; Mosaic to continue mining at Four Corners; Ma’aden completes debt financing of Waad Al Shamal.

Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) has suggested in a recent research note that Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (PotashCorp), which attempted to take over German rival K+S AG in 2015, should offer to do the same this year for US based Intrepid Potash Inc.

Ben Isaacson, Scotiabank’s analyst covering PotashCorp, said that the company should consider a 50% share price premium offer on the solution potash miner, according to Canada’s Globe and Mail. The company has recently seen its ratings outlook assessed as "underperform" by a number of financial firms.

Intrepid produces muriate of potash (MOP) at its facilities in Utah and New Mexico, US. However, Isaacson suggested that the company’s solution mine should be shut down, with a takeover primarily driven by the value in the speciality fertiliser business. Intrepid also produces sulphate of potash magnesia (SOPM), which it brands as "Trio" fertiliser, at a considerably higher price per unit weight than regular MOP.

However, Isaacson said a transaction probably won’t appear for a year, as PotashCorp needs to become "comfortable with antitrust risk" and prices may continue to fall for the agrimineral.

The Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Ma’aden) has announced the approval of a Saudi Industrial Development Fund loan of Saudi Arabian riyal 4bn ($1bn*) for the Ma’aden Waad Al Shamal Phospahte Co. (MWSPC).

The loan is split into four facilities, each of which provides separately for the construction of an ammonia plant in Ras Al Khair, a diammonium phosphate (DAP) plant in the same city, a sulphuric acid plant in Waad Al Shamal and a phosphate plant, likewise in Waad Al Shamal.

Ma’aden said that the loans would complete the debt financing of its phosphate joint venture. Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) and US-based Mosaic Co. retain 15% and 25% stakes in the business, respectively.

In Australia, Incitec Pivot Pvt Ltd, a phosphate fertiliser and explosives manufacturer, has announced that it expects to see an net profit hit of Australian dollar (A$) 14m following a December derailment of a sulphuric acid train.

En route from Townsville, the train derailed near Julia Creek, Queensland. Wet weather had delayed access to the derailment site, but Queensland Rail is now constructing access roads to enable the building of a rail deviation around the incident site.

The company’s Phosphate Hill plant is still expected to produce 950,000 tonnes fertiliser during the company’s 2016 financial year.

The Mosaic Co. is to continue mining its Four Corners site in Duette, US, according to the Bradenton Herald.

The Manatee County Commission unanimously approved a five-year operating permit for the mine last week, allowing a rezoning to be actioned which allows continued phosphate extraction.

The mine has been in operation for 30 years and will reach a total acreage of 11,908 acres (48 km2) with the approved expansion.

"We will continue the same mining practices that we have in Four Corners mine onto this property," Bart Arrington, Mosaic’s mine permitting manager, said.

*Conversion made January 2016