BHP Billiton Puts Its Nickel Mines Up For Sale as LME Prices Keep Going Up

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BHP Billiton, Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, is holding talks for the sale of all or part of its Australian nickel unit as prices of the alloying metal in stainless steel rose to two-year highs, Bloomberg reported.

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“The review is considering all options for the long-term future of Nickel West, including the potential sale of all or parts of the business, Melbourne-based BHP said today in an e-mailed statement. Talks with interested parties have begun, spokeswoman Eleanor Nichols told Bloomberg.

The nickel spot price saw a 3.7 percent increase on Tuesday, May 13, reaching $20,845 per metric ton on the LME and making it the biggest mover for the day. The nickel 3-month price climbed 3.6 percent on the LME to $20,845 per metric ton. The Indian nickel cash price rose 2.3 percent to INR 1,280 ($21.50) per kilogram.

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Chinese stainless steel closed mixed on Tuesday. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 8,300 ($1,331) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly continues hovering around CNY 145,000 ($23,246) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.

The price of Chinese primary nickel experienced a big shift yesterday, gaining 3.4 percent to finish at CNY 152,250 ($24,408) per metric ton. The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge remained essentially flat at $1.16 per pound. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese 316 stainless coil remained essentially flat at CNY 26,000 ($4,168) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 304 stainless coil held flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,629) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap saw little movement at CNY 16,100 ($2,581) per metric ton.

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