BHP Billiton announced on May 14 that it is reviewing its Nickel West business unit. Nickel West’s assets are all in Western Australia and include a large, open-cut nickel mine and concentrator at Mount Keith, two underground nickel mines and a concentrator at Leinster, a nickel concentrator and smelter that produce nickel concentrate and nickel matte at Kalgoorlie, and a nickel refinery at Kwinana that processes nickel matte into LME-grade nickel briquettes and nickel powder, as well as a range of saleable co-products.

Nickel West produced 78,200 metric tons (mt) of contained nickel in the nine months ended March 30.

BHP Billiton’s review is considering all options for the long-term future of Nickel West, including the potential sale of all or parts of the business, and follows a decision to cease operations in the sub-level cave at the Leinster Perseverance underground mine due to safety concerns in December 2013.

“The review of the Nickel West business is consistent with the company’s long held practice of continually reviewing its operations, although it will only pursue options that maximize value for BHP Billiton shareholders. Any potential course of action remains subject to detailed analysis and an assessment of alternatives,” the announcement said.