Mosaic to pay hefty fine over accident at its Colonsay potash mine

Mosaic (NYSE:MOS) will have to pay more than $85,000 after pleading guilty in Saskatoon provincial court to violating Occupational Health and Safety rules, which caused a worker’s serious injury.

The charges stem from a Feb. 7, 2014 accident at the Plymouth, Minnesota-based firm’s Colonsay mine, southeast of Saskatoon, in which a conveyor crushed an employee’s leg, CBC News reports.

Colonsay mine, located about 65 km southeast of Saskatoon, is one of Mosaic’s three Canadian potash operations.

The company was fined $61,000 plus a surcharge of $24,400 for failing “to ensure that all equipment used at the Mosaic Potash Colonsay mine was designed, constructed, installed, maintained and operated to safely perform any task for which the equipment is used.”

Last year, the firm laid off about 330 workers at the mine in response to global oversupply and soft prices. Production at the site, however, resumed in January.

The firm, the world’s largest producer of finished phosphate products, was not the only potash producer to take extreme measures last year on the back of low prices and weak demand. PotashCorp (TSX, NYSE:POT) mothballed its new Picadilly potash operation in New Brunswick, dismissing more than 420 employees. A month later, it curbed production at all of its Saskatchewan operations.

Later, Intrepid Potash (NYSE: IPI) said it would close the high-cost West Facility in Carlsbad, New Mexico, in July, affecting about 300 employees.

Colonsay mine is one of Mosaic’s three Canadian potash operations. The other two are Esterhazy and Belle Plaine.