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Northgate canola crusher project suspended

Ceres Global’s facility was one of four large projects announced for Saskatchewan recently
A canola crushing plant won't be added to the Ceres facility at Northgate, which includes a high-throughput grain elevator and rail transloading facility.

Ceres Global Ag Corp. has suspended its canola crusher project for southern Saskatchewan slightly more than a year after announcing it.

The plant was to be built at Northgate, Sask., near the Canada-United States border.

In a news release posted June 24, Minnesota-based Ceres said a variety of factors led to the decision, “including but not limited to, inflationary pressures resulting in higher costs than initially projected and shifting macroeconomic conditions.”

The company has also terminated an equipment design and supply contract associated with the project to reduce contract liabilities.

The publicly traded company will take a fourth-quarter impairment charge from earlier expenditures related to the canola plant. It has estimated that charge at between $25 and $30 million.

“Ceres intends to continue to explore avenues to pursue a canola crush project of some form in the future, but there is no guarantee that such a project will come to fruition or would be similar to the previously announced project,” it said.

The Ceres plant was among a flurry of canola-related announcements in Saskatchewan last year.

It was planned to be a $350-million integrated processing facility with capacity to process 1.1 million tonnes and refine more than 500,000 tonnes of canola oil for food and fuel. At the time, chief executive officer Robert Day said it positioned the company to take advantage of the unprecedented demand for oilseed crush.

Other planned projects closer to Regina by Viterra, Cargill, Federated Co-op with AGT Foods, as well as expansion of a Richardson facility at Yorkton, are still in the works.

The Saskatchewan government said it was disappointed with the news but remains confident for the future, noting there has been more than $14 billion in investment announced across several sectors.

“Saskatchewan remains one of the top locations in the world to do business and we remain focused on ensuring we have a strong, competitive business environment to continue this economic momentum,” the government said.