BHP delays decision on Jansen potash mine

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BHP delays decision on Jansen potash mine
WATCH ABOVE: The Jansen mine project won’t be brought to BHP’s board for approval in the 2018 calendar year. Ryan Kessler reports – Aug 22, 2017

In its year-end financial results, BHP revealed a significant potash project east of Saskatoon will not be brought to the company’s board for approval in the 2018 calendar year.

The Jansen potash mine is in the feasibility stage and requires board approval for the project to one day produce potash.

READ MORE: K+S opens new potash mine; first new mine in Saskatchewan in more than 40 years

Seventy per cent of the $2.6 billion shaft phase is now complete, including excavation of both shafts and successful lining through the Blairmore aquifer, according to BHP, which shortened its name from BHP Billiton in May.

Construction is ongoing with about 250 people employed at the mine. At peak construction, officials expect 2500 people on site.

If operations are one day approved, about one thousand people would work at the mine if it reaches full capacity.

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The world’s largest miner is now considering bringing in a partner to dilute its ownership in the Jansen project. Other options including “further improvements to capital efficienty” and “further optimisation [sic] of design.”

“Board approval will be sought for the project only if it passes our strict capital allocation framework tests,” the company stated in a news release.

The Jansen mine project is located 140 kilometres east of Saskatoon, close to the communities of Humboldt and Lanigan, Sask.

READ MORE: Miner BHP Billiton suffers $6.4 billion loss for 2015-16

If the mine is approved, about 20 per cent of its employees would likely come from the town of Lanigan, according to Andrew Cebryk, the town’s mayor.

“It would increase the population of the town and we’d be able to attract more services,” Cebryk said.

Though lagging commodity prices have hampered optimism on the project, BHP predicted demand growth between two and three percent with demand outpacing supply in the mid-2020s.

In 2016-17, BHP reported a profit of $6.7 billion U.S., far surpassing a company-worst $6.4 billion U.S. loss the previous year.

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