Over the next five years, Nutrien will invest hundreds of millions to create a safer and more productive work environment by focusing on operational excellence and digital transformation across its site operations. Photos courtesy of Nutrien.

Nutrien, the world’s leading potash producer, is positioning itself to sell over 15 million tonnes of potash as early as 2023, representing a nearly 20 per cent increase from 2018 volumes. To achieve this goal, the company has launched “Next Generation Potash” aimed at becoming the safest, most reliable and lowest-cost potash producer network, known for innovation and industry leadership. Over the next five years, Nutrien will invest hundreds of millions to create a safer and more productive work environment by focusing on operational excellence and digital transformation across its site operations.

“As the world’s largest underground soft rock operation, our executive team is not content to simply set the bar – but to continually raise it when it comes to safety, efficiency, and reliability,” says Theuns Roux, senior director, Potash Full Potential Transformation.

Operational excellence

Critical to the success of Next Generation Potash is a drive towards operational excellence by optimizing processes and establishing best practices across the Nutrien network. In turn, these changes will result in world-class safety, increased operational flexibility to meet market demands, and create a more efficient supply chain – from the cutting face in the mine, to the mill and logistics channel, and out through to customers.

Simply put: The network will run more often, safely, and efficiently to produce more tonnes.

“We will be able to increase our throughput, with little to no additional capital, to achieve the lowest cash cost per tonne the industry has seen,” Theuns shares.

Digital transformation

Nutrien’s digital transformation is initially focused on digitizing operations through data analytics, advanced process controls, and creating a fully connected workforce. In parallel, larger scale innovations are underway to deliver sustained value from digital in the long term, including autonomous mining, predictive maintenance, precision ore management, AI driven short interval control, and remote operations.

“Leveraging technology like big data analytics and automation will drive even more value from our existing processes. We will use new partners, new capabilities, and new ways of working to support our journey,” Theuns says.

Unleashing Nutrien’s full potential

As the world’s largest underground soft rock miner, Nutrien is starting this journey from a position of strength. Less than a year into the transformation, the company is already realizing benefits.

“For example, our Rocanville site has more than doubled the time our boring machine spends capturing optimal ore, providing higher production output for the same time and costs,” shares Theuns.

Nutrien is excited about its role in feeding the future. In an industry where operations have remained largely unchanged for decades, Nutrien’s Next Generation Potash initiatives will take the organization into the future and ensure its continued industry leadership for generations to come.

For more information about how Nutrien is growing our world from the ground up, visit nutrien.com.