BHP moves to secure potash export facilities

* Selects Port of Vancouver USA as preferred site

* Picks CP, BNSF as rail options for transport

TORONTO, Aug 13 (BestGrowthStock) – Diversified miner BHP Billiton
(BHP.AX: ) (BLT.L: ) has reached a preliminary agreement with Port
of Vancouver USA, in Washington state, regarding the location
of a potash export facility.

“The port and BHP Billiton have reached preliminary
agreement to proceed and are working to finalize terms and a
lease agreement,” according to a statement issued by the port
on Wednesday.

Analysts view the move as a sign that BHP remains committed
to developing its Jansen potash project in the western Canadian
province of Saskatchewan. Jansen is being designed to produce
about 8 million tonnes of potash annually, which is about 12
percent of current global capacity.

“It appears BHP is going through the motions to put the
off-site infrastructure in place in order to make a final
decision on whether to construct the Jansen mine … We expect
Jansen to get the go-ahead,” BMO Capital Markets analyst Joel
Jackson, said in a note to clients.

Graham Kerr, the head of BHP’s Diamond and Specialty
Products business, said earlier this year that the company had
also finished all of its exploration work around its Boulder
and Young potash projects in Saskatchewan.

BHP also controls the Burr project in the province, which
it acquired earlier this year through its C$341 million ($328
million) takeover of Athabasca Potash.

BHP has also selected rail proposals from Canadian Pacific
Railway (CP.TO: ) and BNSF Railway [BNISF.UL] as its preferred
options for transporting potash from Jansen to the U.S. Pacific
Northwest port, when that project eventually goes into
production.

The Port of Vancouver USA said that once a final agreement
has been reached, approval is required from BHP Billiton and
the port’s board of commissioners.

($1=$1.04 Canadian)
(Reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Rob Wilson)

BHP moves to secure potash export facilities