BHP nickel smelter shuts after fire: report

Nickel West HQ at dusk. Source: BHP Nickel West.

BHP’s Kalgoorlie nickel smelter has been closed this week following a fire at the Western Australian site last weekend.

Reuters reported the nickel smelter would remain closed while BHP assessed the damage.

The miner told the news agency that the fire had been put out and there were no injuries to workers.

BHP planned to focus its efforts on resuming normal operations at the plant, with its employees returning to the smelter on Monday to work on the recovery.

The smelter is part of BHP’s Nickel West operations in WA’s Goldfields region.

In the 2018 financial year, Nickel West produced 90,600 tonnes of nickel.

BHP is undertaking a major expansion of its Nickel West operations to increase supply for the global battery materials sector.

The company forecasts that around 90 per cent of its sales from Nickel West will come from the growing battery market by the fourth quarter of next year.

To accommodate this growth it is building the world’s largest nickel sulphate plant at Kwinana near Perth.

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