Anglo-Australian mining company BHP Group is reportedly in discussions with fertiliser company Nutrien over forming a partnership for the Jansen potash project in Canada.

With an estimated mine life of more than 50 years, the Jansen project is a proposed underground potash development project located in Saskatchewan.

The two firms are discussing various options for the potash mine, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The options include Nutrien buying a stake in the Jansen mine or becoming its operator and selling the potash through its channels.

However, the report said that the discussions are private and there is no guarantee that they could result in reaching a deal.

BHP has not yet approved the construction of the Jansen mine, where it has already invested $4.5bn and completed digging two 1,000m-deep shafts.

The company’s investors, including from Elliott Investment Management, have opposed the $17bn potash project.

BHP chief executive officer Mike Henry earlier said: “We continue to like potash. We think the long-term demand and supply fundamentals for potash are attractive.

“We’ve always said we’re open to partnering, but the project doesn’t need a partner to proceed.”

In October last year, BHP has committed to invest an additional $272m in the $5bn Jansen Stage 1 potash project.

The mine is estimated to contain around 3,250 million dry tonnes of indicated resources graded at 25.4% potassium oxide.

Nutrien was formed in 2018 following a merger between PotashCorp and Agrium. Currently, the company has six potash mines in Saskatchewan, Reuters reported.