BHP Acquiring Norilsk’s Australian Nickel Assets
The combined tenement package is located in the northern Goldfields region of Western Australia, approximately 50 kilometers (km) from BHP’s Mount Keith mine and 100 km from its Leinster concentrator. The package includes the Wedgetail deposit, which contains a high-grade nickel sulphide resource and a high-quality disseminated sulphide resource in the style of the Mount Keith and Yakabindie ore bodies.
“This is an exciting opportunity to enhance our world-class nickel resource base in Western Australia,” BHP Nickel West Asset President Eddy Haegel said. “Proximity to our existing facilities makes us the natural owners of these deposits, and provides potential options to bring the undeveloped resources to market.” Haegel said this purchase is consistent with its strategy to invest in future- facing commodities and allows them to explore and develop these prospective nickel sulphide tenements.
BHP’s Nickel West operations are a fully integrated mine-to-market business, with operations that include open-cut and underground mines, concentrators, a smelter and a refinery. The majority of production is sold as high-quality nickel metal to overseas markets. Three streams of nickel concentrates come together at the Kalgoorlie smelter, which uses a flash furnace to smelt concentrates and produce nickel matte. The Kwinana refinery then refines granulated nickel matte from the smelter into premium- grade nickel powder and briquettes containing 99.8% nickel.
A nickel sulphate plant is under construction and nearing completion at the Kwinana refinery. Nickel sulphate is a product used in the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles.