In case you weren't following the Canadian Potash Miners strike-- it lasted three months --and has resulted in a world wide shortage of airport runway de-icer. The de-icer used for planes comes from a different source and is not in short supply. But then, what could is a de-iced plane if the runway is a sheet of ice? Airorts are warning the shortage could " thwart ( I love that word) runway cleanup" which of course is code for delay, delay,delay.
About 500 workers walked off the job on Aug. 7 after contract talks broke down over union demands for a greater share of the company's profits.
The three mines, located in the potash hotbed of Saskatchewan, account for about 6 percent of world production and 30 percent of the company's annual output.
At the time of the walkout, the company was reaping record profits due to soaring world demand for fertilizer to boost crop yields, leaving the company essentially sold out of potash at a time of sky-high prices.
But since then, the global financial crisis has prompted hedge funds and other investors to sour on commodities in general, and has raised concerns that farmers will cut back on fertilizer use as crop prices retreat.
Miners are now back at work but airports throughout the world are going to a Plan B. From the StarTribune in Minneapolis: where a lot of de-icer gets used:
..the MAC, which runs Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport, said it does not expect flight delays. It will exhaust its current de-icer supplies, then turn to alternatives. The airport authority can use a urea-based chemical, which is effective and costs the same as potassium acetate, but it is harmful to the environment. Or it can use a newly introduced but expensive test chemical, Hogan said. Potassium acetate costs about $3.50 a gallon. The new chemical, which still must be tested for effectiveness, costs about twice as much. The effect on the MAC budget depends on how much snow falls.
Anyone want to place a wager on flight delays?