BHP may double Canada potash mine's 1st phase output

Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:38pm EDT
 
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - BHP Billiton is making plans to double the first phase of production on its proposed Saskatchewan potash mine to 4 million tonnes, even as a decision on proceeding with the project is delayed, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day the company said that no major projects, including the Jansen, Saskatchewan, potash mine, would be approved before June 2013.

BHP is studying the expansion of its first phase to 4 million tonnes, which will require further engineering design work, spokesman Ruban Yogarajah said in an email comment.

"The additional engineering work will have some impact on the date of first production, but until that work is complete we cannot speculate what that the impact is," he said.

"We see Jansen as the first project in what will eventually become a large business for BHP Billiton based in Saskatchewan."

BHP has been aiming to start production on the 8-million-tonne mine - which would be the world's largest potash mine - in 2015.

Saskatchewan and BHP officials spoke by telephone on Wednesday.

"I think what was announced for Jansen Lake in terms of the project is, comparatively, quite encouraging," said Premier Brad Wall, Saskatchewan's top politician, in an interview with Reuters.   Continued...