Canada’s gross domestic product surprisingly dropped 0.2% in February, with all fingers pointing at the manufacturing and mining sectors, particularly potash and nickel producers, as the main responsible, says the latest Statistics Canada report.
“Potash mining was down 19% as a result of the closure of mines in Saskatchewan in response to weak world demand,” the document says. It was the steepest dive for the industry since 2009.
Copper, nickel, lead and zinc mining declined almost 10% as several nickel mines in Ontario, which also produce copper and precious metals, were closed following a January 29 fatality in one of Brazilian Vale’s nickel mines. The affected operations were Coleman Mine, Stoibe Mine, Creighton Mine and the Garson and Copper Cliff Mines.
Two of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.’s mines in Saskatchewan, Rocanville and Lanigan, were shut down during February, totalling 29 inventory-related downtime weeks at those locations.
Mining and oil and gas combined fell 1.6% in February after a small drop in January and a 2.0% increase in December.
With oil and gas excluded, mining declined as much as 7% in February, says Stats Canada.
Manufacturing, the other sector held responsible for the dip, declined 1.2% in February after increasing for five consecutive months.