Jansen potash project, Australia – update

25th August 2023 By: Sheila Barradas - Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

Jansen potash project, Australia – update

Photo by: BHP

Name of the Project
Jansen potash project.

About 140 km east of Saskatoon, in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Project Owner/s
Multinational mining company BHP.

Project Description
The Jansen potash project has an estimated measured resource of 5.17-billion tonnes and an inferred resource of 1.27-billion, both grading 25.7% potassium oxide, 7.1% insolubles and 0.07% magnesium oxide.

Jansen Stage 1 (S1) will produce about 4.35-million tonnes a year, and has a basin position with the potential for further expansions, subject to studies and approvals.

Jansen S1 includes the design, engineering and construction of an underground potash mine and surface infrastructure, including a processing facility, product storage building and continuous automated rail loading system. Jansen S1 product will be shipped to export markets through Westshore, in Delta, British Columbia.

The Jansen S1 project will convert about 20% of the 5.23-billion tonnes in measured and indicated mineral resources into ore reserves. Jansen S1 is expected to produce 4.35-million tonnes a year of potash.

The project is expected to operate for about 100 years. It includes a separate scope of work for the excavation and lining of the production and service shafts, while the installation of essential surface infrastructure and utilities will continue.

Potential Job Creation
Jansen will create at least 3 500 jobs during peak construction and 600 in operation. The project will have a gender-balanced workforce and about 20% of employees will be local First Nations members. 

Net Present Value/Internal rate of Return
The investment decision will generate an internal rate of return of 12% to 14% and have an expected payback period of seven years from first production.

Capital Expenditure
The project is expected to cost up to $5.72-billion in its first phase. The project includes funding for the required port infrastructure.

The excavation and lining of the production and service shafts, as well as the installation of essential surface infrastructure and utilities, are estimated to cost $2.97-billion.

Planned Start/End Date
The Jansen shaft project was completed in the June 2022 quarter.

Jansen S1 was approved in August 2021 and BHP is targeting first production towards the end of 2026. First production under an accelerated Jansen Stage 2 is set for 2029, extending into early 2030.

Latest Developments
The projected timeline for first production under an accelerated expansion scenario remains 2029, BHP CEO Mike Henry has said, addressing the intricate interplay among economic fundamentals, market outlook and execution strategies.

In response to a question from a Bank of America analyst, Henry said during a conference call on August 22 that the recent plunge in potash prices would significantly influence the progression of Jansen Phase 2 only if the underlying drivers of the price correction proved to be enduring or if they reflected a shift in the medium- to long-term market trajectory.

“There is no decision yet. The [Phase 2] study continues, but we do want to position the company with the option to take an earlier sanction decision in the coming year.”

The feasibility study for Stage 2 is scheduled to be completed in the current financial year, which ends in June 2024.

Henry emphasised that the driving factors for triggering a brownfield expansion at the Canadian potash mine were rooted in strong economic fundamentals around capital expenditure and projected returns.

The execution of Jansen Stage 1 also has a bearing on a Stage 2 investment. Thus far, the trajectory of Stage 1's execution aligns well with plans, which reinforces the prospects for a subsequent phase. 

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
DMC Mining Services (development of two new mine shafts); SNC-Lavalin (feasibility study for Jansen S1, as well as engineering, procurement and construction management services for S1); and Cementation Americas (post-liner excavation and steel and equipping); Wicehtowak Frontec Services, a joint venture partnership between ATCO Frontec and George Gordon Developments (camp support services at BHP’s Jansen Discovery Lodge); 2Nations Bird, a partnership between Bird Construction, Beardy & Okemasis Cree Nation's Willow Cree Developments General Partner, and Fishing Lake First Nation's Development Corporation, FLFN Ventures (works on the Jansen Stage 1 and site services); KDM Constructors comprising the Kawakatoose, Day Star and Muskowekwan Nations, along with the Saskatchewan-based SECON Group of Companies (subcontractor to 2Nations Bird); and George Gordon Developments (subcontractor for the site services agreement).

Contact Details for Project Information
BHP, tel +61 3 9609 3333.