The failure to find a buyer for its Australian nickel business has left BHP Billiton Ltd. with unwanted smelters and pits after the collapse of a price boom, Bloomberg News reported.
The metal reached a two-year high on May 13, a day before the world’s biggest miner outlined a plan to sell all or part of the unit. Since then, the price has declined 27%. Nickel West, which includes mines, concentrators, the Kalgoorlie smelter and Kwinana refinery, didn’t attract a suitable bid, the company said today in a statement.
While Glencore PLC CEO Ivan Glasenberg said earlier his company planned to examine Nickel West and would be “kicking its tires,” no acceptable offers were made, BHP said.
The biggest miners have found some units more difficult to divest as they trim portfolios amid lower commodity prices. Rio Tinto Group, the second-largest, halted work last year to try and sell its diamond unit after failing to find a buyer.
On Tuesday, November 11, the spot price of nickel fell by 1.3% on the LME, landing at $15,065 per metric ton and making it the day’s biggest mover. The nickel 3-month price weakened by 1.2% on the LME, settling at $15,145 per metric ton. The Indian nickel cash price declined 1.0% to INR 945.30 ($15.42) per kilogram.
Chinese stainless steel prices closed flat for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome held steady at CNY 8,300 ($1,351) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly continues hovering around CNY 145,000 ($23,609) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.
The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around $1.06 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil was unchanged at CNY 26,000 ($4,233) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil remained essentially flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,670) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 16,100 ($2,621) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap held flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,670) per metric ton.