BHP Billiton to cut 76 Sask. potash jobs

Reuters — Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton will cut 76 jobs from its Canadian potash operations due to low commodity prices, a company spokesperson said on Friday.

Work continues on sinking and lining shafts at BHP’s potash mine near Jansen, Sask., about 60 km southeast of Humboldt, according to the spokesperson.

The mine would be the world’s biggest if built. Construction has continued even as existing potash producers suffer from weak prices and profits.

BHP, which currently produces other commodities including iron ore and copper, has not yet committed the bulk of the capital needed to build at Jansen.

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The affected employees and contractors will leave the company between this month and June, the spokesperson said in an email.

BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie said Thursday the miner is bearish on the outlook for commodity prices in the long term, but bullish on demand growth based on the rise of Asian economies.

The company also faces, with partner Vale SA, a US$5.2 billion lawsuit from Brazil to clean up after the collapse of a tailings dam.

Reporting for Reuters by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg.

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