Port of Vancouver approves extension of talks with mining company

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The Port of Vancouver Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved revised agreements with a global mining company in hopes of eventually securing a deal to build a potash-export facility at the port's Terminal 5.

Initially, the port expected to finalize a lease with Australian mining giant BHP Billiton by the end of 2012, but a weak global economy forced the company to delay the project, to be built on roughly 45 acres at Terminal 5.

Under the modified deal, the port will continue to keep the property off the market until Oct. 31, by which time both parties hope to finalize a long-term lease, to give BHP more time to move the project forward. The company will pay the port additional exclusivity fees of about $1.2 million and reimburse the port for $19.82 million — an increase of about $8.80 million from the original deal — for additional rail work it wants at the site.