Australian nickel miner Western Areas has signed a two-year sales contract with China nickel major Jinchuan Group, to sell nickel.

Western Areas will sell 25,000t of nickel concentrate from its Forrestania nickel project in Western Australia.

The contract follows plans to increase production from the project from about 10,000t a year to 20,000t in 2010 and 25,000t from 2011.

Western Areas, under an existing offtake agreement, will sell the first 10,000t of high-grade nickel concentrate
from the project’s Flying Fox mine to BHP Billiton, and the remaining to Jinchuan during 2010 and 2011.

Western Areas managing director Julian Hanna said the contract is in line with the company’s plan to sell nickel to major smelters outside Australia, giving the company access to one of the world’s fastest growing markets.