December 4, 2015 / 10:01 PM / 3 years ago

BHP cuts 76 Canada jobs, keeps building potash mine

A logo for mining company BHP Billiton adorns a sign outside the Perth Convention Centre where their annual general meeting was being held in Perth, Western Australia, November 19, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton PLC BLT.L will cut 76 jobs from its Canadian potash operations due to low commodity prices, a company spokesperson said on Friday.

Work continues on sinking and lining shafts at BHP’s Jansen Saskatchewan potash mine, according to the spokesperson.

The mine would be the world’s biggest if built. Construction has continued even as existing potash producers suffer from weak prices and profits.

BHP, which currently produces other commodities including iron ore and copper, has not yet committed the bulk of the capital needed to build Jansen.

The affected employees and contractors will leave the company between this month and June, the spokesperson said in an email.

BHP Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie said on Thursday that the miner is bearish on the outlook for commodity prices in the long term, but bullish on demand growth based on the rise of Asian economies.

The company also faces, with partner Vale SA VALE5.SA, a $5.2 billion lawsuit from Brazil to clean up after the collapse of a tailings dam.

Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Diane Craft

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