BHP has secured a deal to acquire a set of nickel tenements in Western Australia, including the high-grade Wedgetail deposit, from Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel).
The proposed acquisition will include Nornickel’s greenfield nickel development, the Honeymoon Well nickel project, as well as Albion Downs North and Jericho joint ventures (JV) in the northern Goldfields region.
BHP currently owns 50 per cent of the JVs, and they are the last remaining Australian assets in Norilsk’s portfolio.
The operation hosts the Wedgetail deposit, which contains a high-grade nickel sulphide resources, and disseminated sulphide resource in the style of BHP’s Mt Keith and Yakabindie nickel orebodies.
“Nickel continues to be an essential input into new technologies that will improve the battery storage needed for renewables and electric vehicle manufacturing,” BHP Nickel West asset president Eddy Haegel said.
“Consistent with our strategy to invest in future facing commodities, this transaction gives us access to explore and develop these prospective nickel sulphide tenements.”
BHP sells over 75 per cent of its nickel to global battery material suppliers.
The combined tenement package is 50 kilometres from its Mt Keith nickel mine and 100 kilometres from its Leinster concentrator.
Nornickel stated that BHP had an in-depth knowledge of the project, which was expected to streamline the closing of the transaction.
“With the sale of Honeymoon Well nickel project we complete the strategic exit from Australian operations and reinforce our focus on the development of our Tier-1 asset portfolio in Russia,” Nonickel senior vice president for strategy, strategic projects, logistics and procurement, Sergey Dubovitsky said.
“We are grateful to BHP as our JV partner in Australia and appreciate their commitment to prompt execution of the transaction.”
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.
BHP Nickel West is a fully integrated mine-to-market nickel business with over 3500 employees and contractors.
All its mines, concentrators, smelter and refinery are located in Western Australia.