BHP Billiton to spend $240 million on Canadian potash project

The World's biggest miner, BHP Billiton (BHP) today approved $240 million of capital expenditure for its Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada to fund initial stage development of the mining giant's first potash venture.

The Jansen project is being designed to produce approximately 8 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of agricultural grade potash.  The approved expenditure will facilitate the early stage work for the establishment of the production and service shafts, the company said in a press release.

The company plans to use the funding for freezing the ground for safe and effective shaft sinking as well as completing detailed engineering, equipment and materials procurement for the work.

Currently, the Jansen project is in the final stages of pre-feasibility study and likely to move to feasibility phase by mid-2010, with a full investment decision expected in late 2011.

BHP Diamonds & Specialty Products president Graham Kerr said: "The Jansen project is the first phase of what we expect to be our strong presence in the potash sector.''

''In conjunction with the Jansen project, we will continue to pursue other potash opportunities that fit within our portfolio of tier 1, long-life, export-oriented assets," he added.