SASKATOON - Australian mining giant BHP Group Ltd. says it hopes to make a final investment decision on a massive potash project in Saskatchewan in early 2021.

In its latest quarterly report, the company says its board of directors will be asked to decide the fate of the long-delayed Jansen project about 140 kilometres east of Saskatoon in February 2021.

Prices for potash, a light coloured mineral used as a crop fertilizer, have plunged due to a global oversupply, leading to layoffs and mine production interruptions in Canada.

Last month, Canadian fertilizer company Nutrien Ltd. announced eight-week inventory shutdowns at three of its potash mines in Saskatchewan, potentially affecting up to 700 workers.

BHP says it has approved spending $190 million on engineering and $264 million to further de-risk the Jansen project in advance of its decision.

It has invested about $3.5 billion on the first phase of the project, including sinking two shafts, and says it is about 84 per cent complete.