BHP abandons Venus nickel project in Australia

BHP abandons Venus nickel project in Australia

World’s largest miner BHP Billiton (ASX, NYSE: BHP)(LON: BLT), has stopped development at its Venus nickel project in Australia, once deemed as the venture that would “reshape the future profitability and direction” of the miner’s struggling Nickel West business.

Citing competition for capital from its other units, the company told The Metal Bulletin (subs. required) that the move will result in about 90 job losses or about 5% of the total Nickel West unit.

"Nickel West will remain in the BHP Billiton portfolio as a non-core asset and the company will continue to operate the business to realise its full value,” a company spokeswoman was quoted as saying.

The news comes barely a day after the miner announced it was scrapping the sale of its Nickel West division, which it put up for sale in May, since it was unable to find a buyer on its terms.

The division is scheduled to produce 95,000 tonnes of nickel in the 12 months to June 30, 2015. About 55% of that output will be produced from third-party ores.