The world’s largest mining company, BHP Group Ltd., signalled its future is focused on sustainable industries by committing $7.5-billion to a massive Saskatchewan potash project while exiting the oil and gas business.
On Tuesday, Melbourne, Australia-based BHP announced it is moving forward with the Jansen mine, mothballed for several years after more than $5-billion of development spending, and it will begin shipping potash in 2027. The project will create 3,500 construction jobs and permanent work for 600 employees.
BHP also announced it will spin out its energy business to Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd., creating one of the world’s largest independent oil and gas companies. BHP shareholders will receive Woodside shares that give them a 48-per-cent stake in the energy company.
BHP chief executive Mike Henry, a native of Vancouver, said in an interview the decision to build the Jansen mine while selling the oil and gas business reflects “a number of megatrends, including population growth, rising standards of living, sustainable farming practices and decarbonization and electrification of the economy.”