“The nickel industry is undergoing a series of structural changes, with real prices at cyclically low levels. “West Nickel is not immune to these challenges,” the company said.
“We are actively optimizing operations and exploring various options to mitigate the impact of the sharp drop in nickel prices. Based on market conditions, the book value of the group’s nickel assets is currently being evaluated.”
Despite the nickel issues, BHP reported strong operating performance across a range of commodities in the half year to 31 December 2023.
Copper continued to prove to be the big winner for the mining giant, rising 7%.
“From an operational perspective, BHP has delivered a strong first half,” BHP Chief Executive Mike Henry said.
“Iron ore production in Western Australia increased 5% quarter-on-quarter, while copper production increased 7% in the first half, reflecting Spence’s record interim results and South Australia Copper’s continued strong performance and production increases.
“We have successfully integrated our South Australian copper operations and have conducted extensive exploration drilling beneath Olympic Dam, uncovering attractive copper mineralization along 2 kilometers of strike with grades above (one) per cent, area More than two percent.”
The company’s energy coal production grew by 36% and output is expected to reach the upper end of the forecast range in the financial year 2023-24 (FY24).
Mr Henry said: “NSW Energy Coal’s first half performance was its best in five years, while BMA (BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance) weathered a difficult period due to planned extensive maintenance and lower starting stocks. Six months.”
BHP’s production forecast for FY24 remains unchanged across all assets except BMA, which has been revised down to 23-25 million tonnes (Mt) due to a 17% fall in metallurgical coal production.
The update excludes BHP’s sale of the Blackwater and Downia mines to Whitehaven Coal last year. The sale is expected to close on April 2.