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BHP eyes investment decision on Jansen potash project by early 2021

BHP Group's board will make a final investment decision on the first stage of its Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan by February 2021.

The board approved US$345 million in funding for the project, comprising US$201 million to further de-risk the project and US$144 million for activity to support project planning and to finalize a port solution.

The de-risking activities will involve focusing on the mine's scope of work, advancing other engineering and procurement activities, and preparation work for underground infrastructure.

The funds will be released in stages, the company said Oct. 17.

In early June, Deutsche Bank analyst James Gurry said BHP may record a US$1.2 billion impairment on the Jansen project following CEO Andrew Mackenzie's admission that the company overinvested in the project.

In May, the mining giant was flagged for using improbable potash price forecasts to justify the economics of the project.

BHP's copper production in the first quarter of its fiscal 2020 climbed 5% year over year to 429,500 tonnes, while iron ore output slid 1% to 61.0 million tonnes.