BHP Group Ltd. will accelerate the start of a US$5.7 billion potash project in Canada as high gas prices and curbs on key exporters disrupt fertilizer supply chains.

The world’s top miner, which is entering production of the crop nutrient to add exposure to population growth, has been searching for ways to speed up the project as the long-term outlook for fertilizer prices strengthens. 

“We are working to bring forward Jansen Stage 1 first production into 2026 and are assessing options to accelerate Jansen Stage 2,” Melbourne-based BHP said Tuesday in a statement. Jansen’s first stage had previously been expected to commence in 2027.

BHP last year finally approved construction of the Jansen mine in Saskatchewan, Canada, after years of debate over the huge price tag. Jansen could operate for a century, and eventually grow to a scale that would rival the size of the company’s flagship Pilbara iron ore operations, according to BHP. 

The producer had been reviewing options to accelerate the project’s timeline, Ragnar Udd, president of BHP’s Minerals Americas business, said in a May interview.

Fertilizers have become more expensive as a hike in natural gas prices -- a crucial feedstock -- has raised costs. Sanctions on Belarusian potash, and moves by China to rein in shipments have also tighten the market.