Minara Resources and China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MMC) are expected to make a joint bid for BHP’s Ravensthorpe nickel laterite mine.
Nickel miner Minara, which announced its intent to acquire Ravensthorpe in early November, has been pegged as likely to receive backing for its bid from MMC.
MMC has been actively acquiring in Australia over the last week, taking a 10% stake in Clive Palmer’s projected $7.5 billion Queensland coal mine.
While the Ravensthorpe mine has cost BHP over $2 billion to construct, indications show that the mine could sell well below $500 million.
However, the Ravensthorpe mine is estimated to require an additional $500 million to $800 million to complete its processing plant.
On top of this is a projected $300 million to carry out the full commissioning of the mine over two years.
Canada First Quantum Minerals is also slated to make a bid, as is Andrew Forrest through his listed nickel vehicle Poseidon Nickel.
The Jinchaun Group, China’s largest nickel miner, had previously been a bidder but was not invited to the next stages of the sale process by BHP earlier this month.
BHP has stated it has no definite plan for Ravensthorpe, and that a divestment, re-start or a permanent closure are all options still being considered for the mine.
BHP closed the mine in January, a year after it began work on the project, due to the precipitous drop in nickel prices late last year.