BHP has approved $5.7 billion in capital expenditure for the Jansen Stage 1 (Jansen S1) potash project in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada.
Jansen S1 is expected to produce approximately 4.35 Mt/y of potash, and has a basin position with the potential for further expansions (subject to studies and approvals), according to BHP. First ore is targeted in 2027, with construction expected to take approximately six years, followed by a ramp-up period of two years.
Jansen S1 includes the design, engineering and construction of an underground potash mine and surface infrastructure including a processing facility, a product storage building and a continuous automated rail loading system. Jansen S1 product will be shipped to export markets through Westshore, in Delta, British Columbia, and the project includes funding for the required port infrastructure. This infrastructure will be constructed by Westshore Terminals Investment Corporation as part of an agreement with BHP.
BHP Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry, said Jansen is aligned with BHP’s strategy of growing the company’s exposure to future-facing commodities in world-class assets, which are large, low cost and expandable.
“This is an important milestone for BHP and an investment in a new commodity that we believe will create value for shareholders for generations,” Henry said.
“In addition to its merits as a stand-alone project, Jansen also brings with it a series of high returning growth options in an attractive investment jurisdiction. In developing the Jansen project, BHP has had ongoing positive engagement and collaboration with First Nations and local communities, and with the provincial and federal governments. Jansen is designed with a focus on sustainability, including being designed for low greenhouse gas emissions and low water consumption.
“We anticipate that demand growth will progressively absorb the excess capacity currently present in the industry, with opportunity for new supply expected by the late 2020s or early 2030s. That is broadly aligned with the expected timing of first production from Jansen.”
BHP said: “Beyond the 2020s, the industry’s long run trend prices are expected to be determined by Canadian greenfield solution mines. In addition to consuming more energy and water than conventional mines like Jansen, solution mines tend to have higher operating costs and higher sustaining capital requirements.”
At consensus prices, the go-forward investment on Jansen is expected to generate an internal rate of return of 12-14%, an expected payback period of seven years from first production and an underlying EBITDA margin of around 70% given its expected first quartile cost position, according to BHP.
BHP says the $4.5 billion (pre-tax) of capital invested to date has resulted in a significant initial outlay. The investment to date includes construction of the shafts and associated infrastructure ($2.97 billion scope of work), as well as engineering and procurement activities and preparation works related to Jansen S1 underground infrastructure. Approximately $220 million of the $2.97 billion approved for the current scope of work, expected to be completed in 2022, is not yet spent.
The construction of two shafts and associated infrastructure at the site is 93% complete and expected to be completed in 2022, with Cementation Canada set to carry out the post liner excavation, steel and equipping of the shafts.
To date about 50% of all engineering required for Jansen S1 has been completed, significantly de-risking the project, BHP says.