BHP expands nickel exposure as Norilsk exits Australia

The Honeymoon nickel project in Australia

BHP said on Friday it was expanding its exposure to nickel by purchasing nickel tenements in Western Australia in a deal marking the exit from the country of Russian mining group Norilsk Nickel.

The mining giant said it had agreed to buy the Honeymoon Well Nickel Project from a unit of Norilsk Nickel, which is the world’s leading producer of nickel and palladium.

“Nickel continues to be an essential input into new technologies that will improve the battery storage needed for renewables and electric vehicle manufacturing.” BHP’s Nickel West Asset President Eddy Haegel said in a statement.

The sale price was not disclosed.

Nickel is used in lithium ion batteries that power electric vehicles, a market that has seen strong growth supported by subsidies in China.

Norilsk said in a statement the transaction would allow the company to focus entirely on developing its assets in Russia.

“With the sale of the Nickel project Honeymoon Well, we are completing the implementation of the exit strategy for Australian assets,” Sergey Dubovitsky, senior vice president and head of strategic projects, logistics and resource management at Norilsk Nickel, said.

(By Shreya Mariam Job and Nikhil Kurian Nainan; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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