Gas Week

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Stainless steel demand part of $2.2 billion Ravensthorpe nickel jigsaw puzzle; concentrate processed at Yabula, northern Queensland

Posted by gasweek on 28 September, 2007

Ravensthorpe nickel started out in 2004 as a $1.04 billion dream by BHP Billiton has turned into a head­ache with a budget twice that size, and may have cost the job of former BHP Billiton Stainless Steels boss Chris Pointon, if industry gossip was to be believed, reported The Australian, (22/9/2007), p. 34. Nickel laterite popular: Nickel laterite was fast becoming the preferred source of nickel ore around the globe as the world runs short of nickel sulphides — an ore which is much easier to turn into the metal which is crucial in stainless steel. Process­ing nickel laterite involves a very complex chemical reaction per­formed under intense pressure. Full capacity — an annual production rate of 50,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate a year — was in the December quarter 2009, Ravens­thorpe concentrate will be proc­essed at the Yabula refinery in northern Queensland, although BHP Billiton is studying if some of the refined product can then be treated at its Kwinana operations south of Perth.

The Australian, 22/9/2007, p. 34

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