Saskatchewan

BHP Billiton moving potash group to Sask.

Mining company BHP Billiton says it is moving its potash management offices in Canada from Vancouver to Saskatoon.

Mining company BHP Billiton says it is moving its potash management offices in Canada from Vancouver to Saskatoon.

The division oversees a diamond mine in Canada's north and potash projects in Saskatchewan.

"It was just getting hard to explain having the office actually in Vancouver given that we want to have our management close to the resources that we manage," Chris Ryder, a spokesperson for the company, said Tuesday.

CBC News was told that 30 management jobs in Vancouver will eventually move to Saskatoon, where the company already has 69 office workers.

The moves will begin June 1 and are expected to take several months to complete.

Provincial officials were quick to praise the relocation, especially because BHP has been working on opening a new potash mine in Saskatchewan.

"Obviously them moving 30 corporate office jobs to Saskatoon, to the province, is a very good sign that they're serious about a potash mine in Saskatchewan," Premier Brad Wall said Tuesday.

"We've actually made some adjustments to certain taxation policy to make it easy for companies not only to produce the resources that we have — to mine them and extract them, because that creates a lot of jobs and that's good — but also that we would have those corporate jobs in the province," Wall said.

Saskatchewan continues to be a world leader in potash production, according to the province.

"Our existing potash producers are following through with more than $12.2 billion worth of expansions to their existing mines over the next decade," Bill Boyd, the provincial minister of energy and resources said Tuesday

The province noted that BHP Billiton's proposed Jansen potash project near Lanigan, Sask., would be the largest in the Saskatchewan if it goes ahead.

Last fall, BHP Billiton — which is based in Australia — launched an unsuccessful hostile takeover of PotashCorp  which operates six potash mines in Saskatchewan. The company gave up when it was told its bid would not win necessary federal approvals.

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