A government backbench MLA hinted earlier this month that BHP Billiton Canada Inc. would abandon its multi-billion-dollar Jansen potash mine if it doesn’t get further approval to proceed with construction. However, the global mining giant and the government minister responsible for the file said that isn’t case.
Glen Hart, MLA for Last Mountain-Touchwood, told a group of citizens fighting a separate proposed potash mine that BHP employees in Saskatoon told the government that the massive Jansen mine was “at a stage now where if the board of directors doesn’t authorize any more expenditure on this project, they’re going to walk way.”
Hart’s comments were recorded, though it’s unclear if the MLA knew he was being taped. The MLA claims the quote was taken out of context and he was trying to describe his understanding of the process for how potash mine is built. According to a spokeswoman for the premier’s office, Hart in no way meant to sound as if the mine would not proceed.
BHP Billiton is spending $2.6 billion on work currently underway at the site 140 kilometres east of Saskatoon, bringing the company’s total investment to $3.8 billion.
The mine is expected to produce eight million tonnes of potash each year, making it one of the world’s largest. While it’s not clear where Hart got his information, it did not come from BHP Billiton, according to the company’s head of corporate affairs.
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