TORONTO (NEWS11300 – Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton has withdrawn its hostile takeover bid for Saskatchewan-based Potash Corp. The announcement comes less than two weeks after Ottawa rejected the US$38.6 billion offer as not having enough net benefit for Canada.

The company still had 30 days to try to convince the federal government on the merits of its proposal to buy the world’s biggest producer of potash, a key component used in fertilizer. BHP says it still believes its offer would have resulted in a significant net benefit but says Ottawa required “additional undertakings” beyond what the company had already offered.

BHP’s CEO Marius Kloppers says the company remains committed to Canada and still plans to develop a “significant presence” in the potash industry in Saskatchewan.

Industry Minister Tony Clement has released a statement saying he recognizes BHP’s “good faith and integrity” throughout the process.