BHP sees ‘profound’ rate of growth in nickel

Speaking during a pre-Diggers & Dealers site visit to Nickel West’s Kwinana refinery on Friday, chief executive Eddy Haegel said BHP had completed a review of the key battery input materials, being nickel, cobalt and lithium, before deciding to keep the business as core in May.

“I think it would come as no great surprise that we didn’t think the … commodity was attractive in cobalt, 70% of it comes out of the DRC and we’re not in a hurry to go there.

“In the case of lithium, there’s a lot of lithium in the world. It’s a very widely available mineral. There will be periods of time when supply and demand don’t naturally match, but we anticipate there will be no sustainable premium in the lithium sector.

“That’s our internal view, whereas we think that’s not the case with nickel. We think that in the medium to longer-term, there will be a margin that will be sticky, so we think it’s an attractive commodity.”

As part of that view, BHP is building a 100,000 tonne per annum sulphate plant at Kwinana, which will be the largest in the world.

Adam Longfellow
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