World’s largest miner BHP Billiton (ASX, NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT), the company behind the massive $2.6 billion (CAD $3.4 billion) Jansen potash project in Canada’s Saskatchewan province, may place it in the back burner if prices for the fertilizer ingredient don’t pick up by the end of the decade.
The company, which posted Tuesday its worst-ever annual loss, had already cut $130 million from the planned $330 million capital expenditure to develop and study the feasibility of the Jansen project in the current financial year.
And while BHP continues looking for a partner to finally take the venture off the ground, it now admits that the ongoing slump in potash prices may make it mothball the project.
“That might be more palatable to our shareholders than going ahead with a project that’s not economically attractive,” chief executive officer Andrew Mackenzie told The Telegraph.
While the Melbourne-based firm is sinking shafts and installing some infrastructure, it has not fully committed itself to the project, nor received board approval for the mine, which is expected to begin operations sometime “in the decade beyond 2020.”
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