BHP sets 2021 timeline for Saskatchewan potash mine investment decision

SASKATOON — Australian mining giant BHP Group Ltd. says it hopes to make a final investment decision on a massive potash project in Saskatchewan in early 2021.

In its latest quarterly report, the company says its board of directors will be asked to decide the fate of the long-delayed Jansen project about 140 kilometres east of Saskatoon in February 2021.

Prices for potash, a light coloured mineral used as a crop fertilizer, have plunged due to a global oversupply, leading to layoffs and mine production interruptions in Canada.

Last month, Canadian fertilizer company Nutrien Ltd. announced eight-week inventory shutdowns at three of its potash mines in Saskatchewan, potentially affecting up to 700 workers.

BHP says it has approved spending $190 million on engineering and $264 million to further de-risk the Jansen project in advance of its decision.

It has invested about $3.5 billion on the first phase of the project, including sinking two shafts, and says it is about 84 per cent complete.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 17, 2019.

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The Canadian Press