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* C$55 million facility to be built by second half of 2012
* Part of strategy to boost potash transport
TORONTO, April 19 (Reuters) - Canpotex Ltd said on Tuesday that it will develop a C$55 million ($57.5 million) railcar maintenance facility in Saskatchewan to help boost the amount of potash the company can transport.
Canpotex, the overseas potash marketing arm of Potash Corp (POT.TO), Mosaic (MOS.N) and Agrium (AGU.TO), will build the facility near Lanigan, Saskatchewan, about 2,800 kilometers (1,740 miles) west of Toronto. All three companies have big potash mines in Saskatchewan. Potash is a major fertilizer ingredient.
Developing the maintenance facility is part of a plan announced in 1996 to build the world's first potash-specific railcars, allowing longer trains that can carry more potash. It will provide inspection and maintenance services for Canpotex's fleet of 5,000 railcars.
"This new facility will provide greater control over railcar maintenance, thereby enhancing the performance of our railcar fleet," Canpotex Chief Executive Steve Dechka said in a release.
Canpotex transports potash some 1,600 kilometers (994 miles) from mines in Saskatchewan to ports on the West Coast of Canada, where it is shipped to customers around the world.
Construction of the facility is expected to start in May and should be completed by the second half of 2012.
($1=$0.96 Canadian) (Reporting by Julie Gordon; editing by Peter Galloway)