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Did BHP or Canada Inc. reap ‘net benefits’ from blocked Potash deal?

One year ago, the board of directors of Potash Corp of Saskatchewan announced they had received and rejected a $38.6 billion hostile bid from BHP Billiton. The Globe and Mail argues the deal had a profound impact on the country and is best remembered by the confusion it revealed around the Investment Canada Act.

And while the federal government’s blocking of the deal certainly hurt the reputation of BHP Billiton and its CEO Marius Kloppers, the miner is now accelerating development of its massive Jansen potash project in the province, one of $13 billion worth of approved projects at the resource giant.

The Globe and Mail reports after using the Act to shut down BHP’s bid, then-Industry Minister Tony Clement promised to explain what companies can do to provide a “net benefit” to Canada. That clarity has yet to be provided.

As for BHP Billiton, the world’s number one miner set to report annual profits of $22 billion next week, it is moving ahead rapidly with its Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan after getting environmental approvals in July. Following the progression of Jansen into feasibility, the company also announced an additional $488 million to support development of the project.