Glencore, Jinchuan Closing Frontrunners for BHP Billiton’s Nickel West Mines

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Commodities trader and miner Glencore and Chinese nickel producer Jinchuan Group are the frontrunners to buy BHP Billiton’s Australian Nickel West division, two sources close to the situation told Reuters.

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BHP, the world’s largest mining company, announced plans last week to spin off businesses worth an estimated $16 billion but said that Nickel West in western Australia would not be part of the demerged group.

Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie has said the company was in talks with potential buyers for all or part of Nickel West.

Estimates of the value of Nickel West vary greatly, with some analysts and industry sources putting it at anything up to $1 billion and others tagging negative figures to an asset they say is burning cash.

The Indian nickel cash price saw a 1.7 percent increase on Tuesday, August 26, reaching INR 1,145 ($18.92) per kilogram and making it the biggest mover for the day. On the LME, the 3-month price of nickel fell 0.1 percent to $18,700 per metric ton. Following two days of downward movement, the nickel spot price held steady at $18,620 per metric ton on the LME.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were flat for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome remained essentially flat at CNY 8,300 ($1,349) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly saw little movement at CNY 145,000 ($23,560) per metric ton.

The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge continues hovering around $1.28 per pound for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 26,000 ($4,224) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil remained essentially flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,665) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap held flat at CNY 16,100 ($2,616) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap saw little movement at CNY 16,400 ($2,665) per metric ton.

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