BHP's potash fifth leg comes in from the cold

IT is coming up to eight years since former BHP chief executive Marius Kloppers scared everyone by lobbing a US$39 billion takeover bid for the Canadian king of the potash world, Potash Corp (now Nutrien after its merger with Agrium).

BHP's potash fifth leg comes in from the cold BHP's potash fifth leg comes in from the cold BHP's potash fifth leg comes in from the cold BHP's potash fifth leg comes in from the cold BHP's potash fifth leg comes in from the cold

Jansen in Canada

Thank heavens the Canadian government blocked the bid on national interest grounds as potash prices have been on the skids ever since, something BHP's current CEO Andrew Mackenzie knows well given he ran the failed bid as BHP's head of non-ferrous.

The bid's failure forced BHP to revert to its original potash strategy of building a potash presence rather than acquiring one, with the tier 1 Jansen deposit beneath the prairie lands of Saskatchewan the centrepiece.

The build-over-acquiring strategy is now more than a decade old, with the original identification of potash as a potential fifth leg for BHP alongside iron ore, copper, coal and oil, occurring when Chip Goodyear was CEO (2003-2007).

And it is still going to be years before Jansen does become BHP's fift...