Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd is considering selling a 25 percent interest in its Canadian potash mine project, a stake that could be worth close to $2 billion, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The move comes as activist investor Elliott Management Corp has been pushing the company for changes. BHP is working with an investment bank for the potential stake sale in its partly built Jansen, Saskatchewan potash project, the sources said this week.
For BHP, the move will help share the risk of developing the mine and reduce its exposure to the project, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential.
BHP laid out options for the Jansen project in an investor presentation dated Aug. 22, saying it could wait, find a partner, divest or optimize it. BHP spokeswoman Bronwyn Wilkinson said it was too early in the process for the company to have determined the size of a potential stake sale.
"If you bring in a partner, you can share the capital and risk and, depending on who the partner is, help secure an off-take (supply agreement) or offer expertise," Wilkinson said.