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BHP Billiton puts brakes on Jansen potash mine

Resource giant says it’s looking for partner, but will continue to build production, service shafts

BHP Billiton won’t be asking its board to build the Jansen potash project any time soon.

In its year-end financial results, the global resource company says it won’t be asking the board for approval to go ahead with the Jansen potash project in 2018. The company says it is waiting for better market conditions before proceeding.

“Board approval will be sought for the project only if it passes our strict capital allocation framework tests,” the report reads.

BHP Billiton may ‘mothball’ Jansen mine in Sask. if potash prices don’t rebound
BHP Billiton laying off 70 in Saskatoon

The Jansen project, located 150 kilometres east of Saskatoon, was once called the largest potash project in the world. At one point, it was estimated the cost of building the mine would reach $12 billion US.

The company says it is proceeding with building its production and service shafts, necessary to transport workers and potash. BHP says the shafts were 70 per cent complete, and have been safely excavated and lined through the Blairmore aquifer.

The mining giant says it is looking at diluting its interest in the project by bringing in a financial partner.

BHP posted a $6.7 billion annual profit for the financial year that ended in June, a year after the worst full-year result in the company’s history. The company also says it wants to sell its U.S. shale oil assets.