BHP Billiton share price: Company closes Australian nickel mine due to safety concerns

on Dec 17, 2013
Updated: Oct 21, 2019
Listen, Tuesday, December 17: BHP Billiton Plc (LON:BLT), the world’s biggest mining company measured, will close a nickel mine in Australia due to safety concerns raised by a small earthquake in October.

In today’s London trading BHP Billiton shares were 0.2 percent lower at 1,789p as of 13:54 UTC.
**Safety analysis**
In a statement today the company announced its decision to close the Nickel West Leinster Perseverance Underground mine, which followed several weeks of investigation by experts. The mine has experienced a number of safety problems during the last three years. The most recent of them occurred at the end of October, when nine workers were trapped after an earthquake. Since then production at the site has been suspended and BHP’s Nickel West division, which operates the mine, has started an investigation.

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“Following this analysis BHP Billiton has decided it is unable to safely resume operations in the sub-level cave at Perseverance mine,” the company said in the statement.
BHP said that Nickel West will continue to use its processing facilities at Leinster and will maintain the underground infrastructure at the mine. The company will resume operations at Rocky’s Reward open cut mine, which is located near Leinster, in order to provide an alternative ore supply to the integrated business.

The closure of the Perseverance mine will likely result in a reduction in the operational workforce, though the company will try to find reemployment opportunities for the affected workers within the Nickel West division or the broader BHP Billiton group, where possible.

Commenting on the decision, Nickel West President Paul Harvey said: “The health, safety and wellbeing of our people is paramount; it is the first of Our Charter values. As this change is implemented, we will continue to treat our people and stakeholders with the utmost care and respect and maintain our strong focus on safety.”
The closure’s impact on production will be given in the company’s December quarter operational review, the miner said.

According to a statement on October 22, BHP’s nickel production rose 9 percent year-on-year to 40,000 metric tons in the quarter ended in September, on the back of a strong performance by Nickel West. However, the nickel divisions have struggled to perform in recent years, and together with aluminium and manganese are considered to be the weakest divisions within the group.
**As of 15:03 UTC buy BHP Billiton shares at 1788.50 pence**
**As of 15:03 UTC sell BHP Billiton shares at 1788.00 pence**
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