BHP stands down 25% of nickel project workforce

West Musgrave project area. (Image by BHP).

BHP Group Ltd., the world’s largest miner, has stood down around a quarter of the workers constructing its West Musgrave nickel and copper project in Western Australia, according to a report from the Australian Financial Review.

The workforce at the A$1.7 billion project has been cut from about 400 to 300 people, the AFR reported, without saying where it got the information. A company spokesman said the exit of some workers didn’t mean the entire project – acquired from OZ Minerals Ltd. last year – has been canceled, the AFR said.

In February, BHP took a $2.5 billion impairment on the value of its Australian nickel assets after a surge in supply of the battery metal dragged down prices. The miner also said it would shutter its Kambalda concentrator, which processes ore, and could mothball its other Australian nickel assets after a review.

The price of nickel — a metal traditionally used to strengthen steel that’s become key to the energy transition due to its use in electrification and batteries — has dropped 40% since the start of 2023 on the London Metal Exchange.

(By Georgina McKay)


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