White Springs —
White Springs Agricultural Chemicals, Inc (PotashCorp White Springs) announced Tuesday that it will permanently close the Suwannee River chemical plant – one of two plants at the White Springs facility – during the second half of 2014. Initial closure activities will result in an immediate reduction of approximately 250 people. Final closure in 2014 will result in an additional reduction of approximately 100 people, a cumulative reduction of approximately 50 per cent from current levels.
According to Mike Williams, PotashCorp White Springs public affairs manager, the approximate 250 employees were notified Tuesday of their immediate job loss, however, those employees will be paid and receive benefits until February.
“This is a difficult day for our employees, their families and our company,” said Paul Dekok, vice president, Phosphate. “We did not make this decision lightly, however, it is a necessary step to strengthen the sustainability of our White Springs facility as we move forward.”
The changes at White Springs stem from a company-wide review of business and operational needs that will affect all three business segments (potash, nitrogen and phosphate) and are being undertaken to enhance the global competitive position of the company.
In view of challenges in the global phosphate market and an increased regulatory burden, PotashCorp made the difficult but necessary decision to reduce production levels in White Springs by closing the Suwannee River chemical plant. The new operating level is expected to extend the life of the existing phosphate rock mine by approximately five years.
The Swift Creek Chemical complex, in addition to the Suwannee River granulation plants, will continue to operate and White Springs will maintain over 350 positions at the facility.
“We are focused on ensuring this process is respectful to our employees and their families,” Dekok said. “We will do our best to help those affected through this challenging time.”
The company also announced that Bill Donohue has been appointed general manager at White Springs. Donohue was previously plant manager at PotashCorp’s Weeping Water and Cincinnati feed phosphate facilities.
According to Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc., the company is reducing its entire workforce in Canada, the United States and Trinidad by approximately 18 percent from current levels.
The company expects workforce reductions by region as follows:
- Saskatchewan – approximately 440 people
- New Brunswick – approximately 130 people
- Florida – approximately 350 people
- North Carolina – approximately 85 people
- Other US locations and Trinidad – approximately 40 people