BHP shuts Perseverance nickel mine on safety worries

BHP shuts Perseverance nickel mine on safety worries

The mine had been operating since the late 1970s with BHP owning it since 2005.

BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) said Tuesday it’s permanently shutting down its underground nickel mine at Leinster in Western Australia's Goldfields, cutting up to 200 jobs in the process.

The mine has been operating since the late 1970s with BHP owning it since 2005, as part of its Nickel West operations.

But the world's biggest mining company suspended production at the mine, after an earthquake in October and today said it is no longer safe to mine in the sub-level cave of the mine.

Nickel West Asset President Paul Harvey said safety comes first and that after six weeks analyzing the situation at Perseverance the decision was to bring operations there to an end.

He added the company will attempt to redeploy the 200 affected workers into other operations, but warned there will probably be some redundancies.

The early end to mining at Perseverance will put further strain on the economics of BHP's West Australian nickel business, which has been struggling in recent years due to low nickel prices.