BHP Billiton has sold its Yabulu nickel refinery in Queensland to companies wholly owned by Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer, the company announced in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
Terms of the sale have been kept confidential.
Palmer is the chairman of coal and iron ore company Mineralogy, and was recently named Australia’s fifth-richest person.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has welcomed the sale and the security it provides for the refinery’s 950 jobs.
“The sale and continued operation of Yabulu is good news for the Townsville region and good news for the State’s economy,” she said.
BHP Billiton Stainless Steel president Jimmy Wilson agrees the sale is a positive result not only for BHP and Palmer, but also for the local community.
“We are pleased that BHP Billiton and Professor Palmer have reached this agreement, which provides greater certainty to the workforce and the surrounding community,” he said.
“Professor Palmer is deeply committed to the continued operation of Yabula and we wish him and all those working at Yabula every success in the future.”
The sale comes after the June closure of BHP’s Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia, resulting in the loss of up to 1,800 jobs.