BHP sees Canada as a strategic location to develop ‘future-facing commodities’

BHP’s president for Americas minerals Ragnar Udd has revealed that the world’s top miner is seeking further opportunities to develop ‘future-facing commodities’ in Canada, on the back of its failed attempt to acquire nickel explorer Noront Resources.

BHP defines nickel as one of three future-facing commodities — along with copper and potash — and has set up its exploration and business development team in Canada, in order to scour for opportunities primarily in Ontario’s highly prospective Ring of Fire region and other mineralogically attractive parts of the country.

In a recent interview, Udd said that Canada has great people, policy that’s becoming more investor friendly, a population that seems to ‘get it’ and a market that understands and invests in projects.

After ceding a bidding battle with Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest for Noront in December, Melbourne-based BHP will ‘absolutely’ be chasing more Canadian nickel assets, according to Udd.

“You shouldn’t read basically that the conversation with Noront is a one and done,” he said. “It could be almost the tip of the iceberg in terms what I think the media saw as being worthy. But the reality is we have an entire engine that takes a look at growth within BHP.”

The global energy transition is expected to necessitate four times as much nickel in the next 30 years as it has in the last 30 years, Udd added.