The contracts, valued at more than C$260m ($188m), were awarded for works including camp management, site services and raw ore/handling foundation works at the Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada


Jansen mine shaft in Saskatechewan, Canada. (Credit: BHP)

Australian mining company BHP, together with local First Nation communities, has awarded three new contracts for the construction of the Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada.

The three-and-a-half-year contracts, valued at more than C$260m ($188m), cover the camp management, site services and raw ore/handling foundation works.

Wicehtowak Frontec Services, a joint venture between ATCO Frontec and George Gordon Developments, has been granted the camp management contract.

The JV was created to support the construction of the Jansen Discovery Lodge and has evolved into a majority Indigenous-owned company.

The site services and raw ore/handling foundation contracts have been awarded to 2Nations Bird and Fishing Lake First Nation’s Development Corporation, FLFN Ventures.

2Nations Bird is a new partnership between Bird Construction, Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree Nation’s Willow Cree Developments General Partner.

The contracts will support more than 400 local jobs, with more than 50% representation from the six First Nations surrounding the Jansen site.

In 2012, BHP initially developed Opportunity Agreements, which aim to create long-term mutual benefits for BHP and First Nation communities.

BHP chief commercial officer Vandita Pant said: “Across our operations, it is our ambition to create long-term relationships with Indigenous Peoples based on trust and mutual benefit – and these contract awards demonstrate this ambition in action.

“By integrating local suppliers and Indigenous businesses into our supply chain we are working hand-in-hand with First Nation partners to build long-term positive outcomes for communities and for BHP.”

BHP said that it has awarded contracts worth a total of C$470m ($341m) to Indigenous businesses in the region, since the Stage 1 project was sanctioned in August 2021.

The company said that it is working with First Nation Opportunity Agreement partners, and other Indigenous groups to identify jobs and skillsets required for Jansen.

2Nations Bird will work closely with KDM Constructors, who represent Kawakatoose, Day Star and Muskowekwan Nations, along with George Gordon Developments, the economic development arm of the George Gordon First Nation.

The operations at the Jansen project are anticipated to commence in late-2026.

Beardys and Okemasis Cree Nation chief Edwin Ananas said: The impact of the contracts on his community, Indigenous and industry partnerships, such as these, create economic and employment opportunities for our Nation and its members.

“It also allows us to develop capacity, learn from one another, and grow in tandem. More importantly, these types of relationships are critical to advance economic reconciliation which allows us to develop long-term, meaningful, and sustainable outcomes.”