BHP Billiton halts plans to sell Nickel West business in Western Australia

11 November 2014 (Last Updated November 11th, 2014 18:30)

BHP Billiton has cancelled plans to sell its Nickel West business in Western Australia, as the company has failed to find a buyer willing to pay its price.

BHP Billiton has cancelled plans to sell its Nickel West business in Western Australia, as the company has failed to find a buyer willing to pay its price.

The decision follows a review by BHP on Nickel West, which included the Mt Keith, Cliffs and Leinster mines and the associated concentrators, the Kalgoorlie smelter, the Kambalda concentrator and the Kwinana refinery.

"Nickel West will remain in the BHP Billiton portfolio as a non-core asset and the company will continue to operate the business to realise its full value." 

The review considered the potential sale of all or parts of the operation, and was prompted by an announcement in December 2013 to cease operations in the sub-level cave at Perseverance Underground mine due to safety concerns.

Nickel West Asset president Paul Harvey said: "The focus of Nickel West will remain on delivering safe and efficient production whilst pursuing every opportunity to maximise productivity, to reduce operating costs and increase free cashflow."

The company previously planned to shed its non-core assets and concentrate on its operations in four key businesses of coal, copper, iron ore and petroleum. BHP Billiton said it would seek other options to improve shareholder value.

In a statement the company said: "At this time, Nickel West will remain in the BHP Billiton portfolio as a non-core asset and the company will continue to operate the business to realise its full value.

Nickel West, which includes several mines and processing facilities, was planned to be sold to an investor or a rival nickel producer. According to reports, Glencore and China-based nickel mining company Jinchuan Group were prospective buyers for the business.