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WA’s Northern Goldfields BHP Billiton wants to dominate the region the same way as WMC did for more than 30 years

Posted by gasweek on 5 October, 2007

BHP Billiton wants to dominate the region the same way as WMC did for more than 30 years as the partner of choice for the smaller miners around Kambalda and further north, according to Michael Vaughan, in The Australian Financial Review, (24/9/2007, p. 15). He said “BHP Billiton’s strategy at its Nickel West operations in Western Australia is in major contrast to the former owner of the , WMC Resources, as it puts its faith in concentrate.

Nickel matte mountain: Mount Keith, Leinster and third party mines each supply the Kalgoorlie nickel smelter with 35,000 to 40,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate a year. This is turned into between 100,000 and 110,000 tonnes of a product called nickel matte which runs at about 68 per cent nickel. About 65,000 tonnes of this product is transported to the Kwinana smelter and the other 35,000 to 45,000 tonnes is sold to overseas smelters.

Jubilee Mines flows to smelter: Put simply, it wants to maximise the amount of ore it mines and turns into nickel concentrate powder at its Mount Keith and Leinster nickel mines in WA’s Northern Goldfields region. It also means A significant milestone occurred last Wednesday when the first high-grade concentrate from Jubilee Mines’ Cosmos operations went through the Kalgoorlie nickel smelter after the two companies signed an historic off-take deal in late August. Jubilee joins Mincor Resources, Independence Group, Sally Malay Mining, Consolidated Minerals and Australian Mines as nickel ore suppliers to BHP Billiton for concentrating at Kambalda, smelting in Kalgoorlie and ultimately refining into nickel powder or pellets at Kwinana south of Perth. Other than Jubilee, all of these companies are operating mines previously owned by WMC Resources, which were sold off at various stages between 2000 and 2005 before BHP Billiton’s $9.2 billion takeover.

The Australian Financial Review, 24/9/2007, p. 15

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