BHP considers aluminium retreat

A few months after consolidating its aluminium and nickel assets into a single division, BHP Billiton is considering selling its Brazilian aluminium operations.

The Financial Times reports BHP has appointed advisors to explore a sale of the assets, and the company is also looking at trimming other non-profitable projects.

Unnamed sources told the Financial Times BHP was among a number of large mining companies driving a "retreat to the core" of its business.

“[Miners] have realised that having lower quality assets in their portfolio doesn’t make sense. But is now the time to be selling them?” they said.

“It is difficult to get good prices right now.”

Earlier this year BHP shifted its aluminium and nickel assets into a single division based in Perth, and aluminium, nickel and coporate development CEO Alberto Calderon said the move represented long term faith in the sectors.

"Despite the current challenges, BHP Billiton is committed to aluminium and nickel as commodities that may benefit from later phases of economic development in the emerging economies," he said.

Earlier this year BHP also said it was reviewing its diamond assets with the view of a full or partial sale.

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