BHP mulling potash push: report

Mining giant set to decide whether it will move into fertilisers business.

BHP Billiton Ltd will soon decide if will convert its foothold in the potash industry into a fully-realised push into the fertilisers business, through the development of its Jansen project in Canada, The Australian reports.

According to the newspaper, BHP has already spent more than $2 billion on the Jansen project, with a $12 billion development reportedly being considered.

If the mining giant goes ahead with its potash push, it would deliver chief executive Andrew Mackenzie with his so-called "fifth pillar" after iron ore, petroleum, copper and coal.

The Australian reports the miner has long been banking on substantial growth in the global population, as well as higher-kilojoule diets for Asia's rising middle class, both of which would create strong demand for fertilisers.