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PotashCorp to cut hundreds of jobs

Potash Corp. (TSX:POT) is cutting its workforce by about 18 per cent, affecting 1,045 people — with the biggest hits in its home province of Saskatchewan as well as Florida and New Brunswick.

The Saskatoon-based company says the decision is necessary because of soft demand for potash and phosphates, two major types of fertilizer used to promote crop growth.

"This is a difficult day for our employees and our company," said Bill Doyle, PotashCorp's president and chief executive.

"While these are steps we must take to run a sustainable business and protect the long-term interests of all our stakeholders, these decisions are never easy.

"We understand the impact is not only on our people, but also in the communities where we work and live, and PotashCorp will work hard to help those affected through this challenging time."

PotashCorp (TSX:POT) says the biggest job cuts will be in its home province, where 440 people will be affected — about 42 per cent of the total affected by the downsizing.

Most of those will be at its Lanigan division, where one of two mills will suspend production by the end of 2013, and its Cory divison, where production will be reduced, and the Saskatoon headquarters.

The Saskatchewan government said it would dispatch its rapid response teams to help those affected find work in other sectors.

"We are fortunate that this has occurred at a time of relative labour market strength and that our economy today is more diversified than ever," Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said in a statement.

The premier said the government would also look to improve its work to match training resources with labour needs.

In addition to the cuts in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick will see 130 people affected while the rest will be outside Canada, including more than 435 in the United States.

Florida will lose 350 jobs while another 85 people will be affected in North Carolina.

One of two phosphate plants in White Springs, Fla., and the Suwannee River chemical plant, will be closed. A loss of capacity at White Springs is expected to be partially offset by higher output at Aurora, N.C.

There will another 40 jobs affected in other parts of the United States and in Trinidad.

PotashCorp is Canada's largest producer of potash, which is sold around the world to help farmers boost crop production.

The Canadian Press

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