(Adds comments from union)
By Roberta Rampton
WINNIPEG, Manitoba Aug 26 Managers at Potash
Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) restarted operations at the
fertilizer giant's Allan mine on Monday, the largest of three
potash mines where workers have been on strike since Aug. 7, a
spokesman said on Tuesday.
The company has not determined how much potash it will be
able to produce from two shifts at the mine, which normally
runs on four shifts, spokesman Bill Johnson said. The Allan
mine produced 1.744 million tonnes of potash in 2007, or 19
percent of the company's total output.
"We're in the business of supplying the world with
fertilizer inputs, and we intend to do that to the best of our
ability while the union leadership keeps its members out on
strike," Johnson said in an interview.
It is still too soon to gauge whether the strike by about
500 mine workers, members of the United Steelworkers union,
will affect Potash Corp's ability to meet its sales
commitments, Johnson said.
Potash Corp is still evaluating contingency plans for the
other two striking mines at Cory and Patience Lake,
Saskatchewan, he said.
Steve Hunt, a spokesman for the Steelworkers, said he had
not heard directly from Allan about the status of its
"I don't imagine they're doing very much," he said.
The strike comes during a seasonal lull in fertilizer
sales, but Potash Corp has said the action affected its
industrial customers, accounting for about 5 percent of sales.
Together, the three mines account for about 6 percent of
world potash capacity, creating concerns about shortages and
price spikes because of strong demand and tight supplies of the
nutrient, which is used to boost crop yields.
No talks are scheduled with the union, Johnson said.
Fertecon Ltd, a prominent fertilizer consultancy, has said the
strike could begin to push up world prices if it lasts beyond
Expansion projects at all three mines have been "minimally
impacted," the company said, noting the projects are on
Potash Corp shares were up 0.6 percent at C$187.18 on the
Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton, additional reporting by Cameron
French in Toronto; editing by Rob Wilson)