Miner's slowing activity may not affect port project

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BHP Billiton has shelved its planned $20 billion Olympic Dam expansion in Australia and put all other approvals on hold as the world's largest miner battles escalating development costs, slumping prices and an uncertain outlook, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The company's situation prompted speculation about whether it would continue to pursue other significant projects, including its Jansen potash development in Canada. The Jansen project is part of BHP's plan to build a potash export facility at the Port of Vancouver's Terminal 5. The company would transport potash by rail to the port, where it would then be loaded onto ships bound primarily for Asia. BHP would haul the potash from the Jansen mine it's developing in Canada's Saskatchewan Basin.

Theresa Wagner, the port's communications manager, said "all indications" are that BHP is moving forward with its planned export operation at the port's Terminal 5.