Nutrien Inc. is permanently closing its potash mine in Picadilly, near Sussex.
The news comes nearly three years after the company — then known as PotashCorp — indefinitely suspended operations at the site, leaving more than 400 people without work.
In a news release on Monday, the company said the decision reflects its ability to increase potash production in Saskatchewan at significantly lower costs than resuming production in New Brunswick.
Sussex Mayor Marc Thorne told our newsroom he is disappointed but not surprised by the decision.
“I’ve had a number of meetings with Nutrien about the future of the mine and at no time have they ever indicated that there would be a future in potash mining there,” Thorne said on Tuesday.
Some workers still on site
Thorne said the 34 workers who were kept on site after operations were suspended will be laid off over the next three or four years.
The mayor said his community has moved on as much as can be expected following the massive layoffs in January of 2016.
“When you lose a mine of that stature and the payroll that went along with that, you feel it,” he said. “But when the mines came into our community, they didn’t become the economy, they added to it. We’ve got a strong history of forestry and agriculture, we’re a strong service centre.”
Thorne said the town is still working with other government partners to explore the potential of extracting geothermal energy from the site.
“It’s going to take a certain degree of investment but we’re still working in that direction and we know that if we can achieve success we think that our reason can potentially attract some major investors, people that would really benefit from using cheap energy.”
Story by Brad Perry