It’s been more than six years since crews began work near Jansen Lake for BHP Billiton’s proposed potash mine, and they are still waiting for the company’s board to sanction the mine.
In 2011, the Jansen project was being touted as the world’s largest potash mine, and the project was scheduled to be completed by 2015.
However, despite $3.8 billion of investment by the company, the project has still not received full approval by the board.
Head of Corporate Affairs for BHP Billiton in Canada Chris Ryder says a few factors have been delaying the approval, including cash availability and a struggling potash market that is seeing historically low prices. Ryder doesn’t expect the sanction to be given in the next year.
Around 200 people are on site constructing the two mine shafts at the site about 150 kilometers east of Saskatoon.
Those shafts are now 600 meters deep, with the company’s plan to lower them 1 kilometer deep, where most of the potash can be found. Ryder says a 2,500 person work camp has been built and all utilities have been set up, so they are almost ready for the large process plant if it is sanctioned.
Ryder estimates as many as a thousand people would be working on the sites if the site is completed.