Glencore to Study BHP Australian Nickel Assets, CEO Says
Glencore Xstrata Plc (GLEN), the global commodity trader and metals producer run by billionaire Ivan Glasenberg, said it will study the sale of BHP Billiton Ltd.’s Australian nickel assets.
“It’s on the market, it’s clear it’s on the market,” Glasenberg said today in a phone interview from London. “We will kick the tires. It’s something that would make sense, but it is an asset that’s had its problems.”
BHP has booked impairment charges on the Nickel West assets of almost $1.6 billion over the past two fiscal years, after prices for the metal declined. Glencore’s Minara unit controls the Murrin Murrin nickel mining and refining project.
“It’s something that would make sense with Minara being close by,” Glasenberg, who is chief executive officer of Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore, said today. “We do buy certain products from them.”
A spokeswoman for BHP in London declined to comment.
Glencore today announced a $454 million impairment charge on the Murrin Murrin assets in the north eastern Goldfields of Western Australia.
BHP’s Nickel West operations in Western Australia produced 103,300 metric tons of the metal in fiscal 2013. The assets include the Mount Keith open-cut nickel mine and concentrator, two underground mines and a concentrator at Leinster, nickel concentrate and smelting plants at Kalgoorlie and the Kwinana site, which produces nickel briquettes and powder.
Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, is a non-executive director of Glencore Xstrata.
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