BHP still keen on potash: CEO

Mackenzie says potash plans unchanged, decries BHP tax burden.

BHP Billiton (BHP) chief executive Andrew Mackenzie has said recent tumult facing the potash sector has not changed the miner's approach to the resource.

In a speech at an Asia Society lunch, Mr Mackenzie said BHP remains interested in potash and the miner still hopes to develop the $US15 billion ($A16.7 billion) Jansen project in Canada despite the break-up of a leading potash cartel that maintained elevated potash prices.

“We have always said that potash is a business that will lose some of its cartel-like structure in time and become more globally traded like everything else, so we, to some extent, predicted what's happened,” Mr Mackenzie told reporters.

“We think everything long term; this is something that has happened short term.”

Mr Mackenzie said a more detailed update on the miner's short-term expectations for potash and the miner's other commodities will be included in BHP's full-year earnings due on August 20.

BHP pays more than its share of taxes: Mackenzie

In an interview with The Australian, Mr Mackenzie decried BHP's tax burden, saying the miner pays more than its fair share.

"We are a big taxpayer —45% — I think that's more than a fair rate of tax that we're paying," he told the newspaper, referring to the $A10 billion worth of Australian tax and royalty payments BHP made in 2011-12.

"If that were to continue to rise, I would worry about the competitiveness of the country and the competitiveness of mining in this country."

Mackenzie brushes off Chinese pressure to lower iron ore prices

Meanwhile, Mr Mackenzie also used the occasion of the speech to rebuff Chinese pressure to lower iron ore prices.

Mr Mackenzie had revealed to The Australian that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had pressured BHP over commodity prices during a June meeting.

Mr Mackenzie said he told the premier that prices “were now at more sustainable levels” and are already “quite low”, the newspaper reported.

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