Fertilizer plant proposal enters next phase

Interest in a proposed fertilizer plant for Saskatchewan has been far greater than expected. Bob Friesen, vice president of government affairs for Farmers of North America (FNA), the proponent of ProjectN to build a one million tonne capacity fertilizer production facility, said the organization’s Series I Seed Capital offering raised $7 million in risk capital.

“These seed capital units were bought on faith of the strength of the project,” Friesen said, adding farmers from B.C. to Quebec had committed 6.5 million acres, which represents 560,000 tonnes of the plant’s capacity.

“There has been a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for this project, even in Quebec,” Friesen said.

The Series I offering was restricted to members of FNA. The Series II offering, now under way, opens up the capital units to all farmers.

“What is absolutely critical is getting as many famers as possible so we can control a major portion of the production of the new facility,” Friesen said.

During public meetings in October and November, 2012, FNA told prospective supporters BMO Capital Markets had signed on as the financial advisor to ProjectN. On January 31, the organization announced it had engaged Stantec, a global leader in engineering, environmental and process engineering, to its Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS).

“With Stantec and BMO Capital Markets we have two of the world’s best in their respective fields,” Friesen said. “A great deal of work has already been done and the foundation has been laid so that ProjectN is one of the most advanced of the fertilizer plant proposals being put forward by new entrants to the North American fertilizer production market.”

FNA was founded 13 years ago as a coalition of farmers with intent of reducing input costs through combined buying power. During a pitch to Yorkton area farmers in November, Bill Martin, FNA vice president of grain handling, marketing and transportation, told a standing room-only crowd at the Comfort Inn that the alliance had saved farmers more than $1 billion on glyphosate alone.