Quebec fertilizer plant put on hold again because of weak market conditions

MONTREAL – Development of a large urea fertilizer plant in Quebec has been put on hold again because of unfavourable economic conditions, six months after a suspension was lifted.

Indian Farmers Fertilizer Co-operative (IFFCO) and the Quebec agricultural co-operative La Coop federee said Monday the project in Becancour isn’t dead, but it can’t restart until market conditions recover, allowing partners to obtain required financing.

The companies said investors are being prudent because urea prices are at their lowest level in five years.

“We are waiting for the cyclical low point in the price of urea to end, which we expect will allow resumption of the project,” Claude Lafleur, director general of IFFCO Canada, said in a news release.

The project was restarted in June after being suspended a year ago because its costs nearly doubled in two years to more than $2 billion. The initial delay was announced about three months after its planned start-up was put off until 2018. In June, startup was moved back by up to two years.

The promoters contend the project remains viable and continues to have support from the Quebec government and major institutional partners.