Archive | BHP Billiton

Electric cars driving BHP’s nickel dream – by Paul Garvey (The Australian – October 18, 2017)

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

BHP has flagged it could double down on its foray into supplying nickel chemicals to the growing electric vehicle market as it looks to capitalise on the “new energy revolution”.

The head of BHP’s resurgent Nickel West nickel division, Eddy Haegel, told The Australian Nickel Conference in Perth yesterday that the company was looking to bring forward stage two of its proposed nickel sulphate processing plant at its Kwinana refinery after being inundated with inquiries from the world’s biggest battery manufacturers.

He also revealed the company was investigating the economic and technical feasibility of moving even further downstream with the potential development of a cathode precursor plant at Kwinana. “The new energy revolution is coming and it will be very good news for our local nickel industry,” Mr Haegel said. Continue Reading →

BHP, world’s largest miner, says 2017 is ‘tipping point’ for electric cars – by Clara Ferreira-Marques and Gavin Maguire (Reuters U.S. – September 26, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – This year looks set to be the “tipping point” for electric cars, Arnoud Balhuizen, chief commercial officer at global miner BHP (BLT.L) said on Tuesday, with the impact for raw materials producers to be felt first in the metals market, and only later in oil.

“In September 2016 we published a blog and we set the question – could 2017 be the year of the electric vehicle revolution?” said Balhuizen, a company veteran who runs BHP’s commercial strategy, procurement and marketing from Singapore. “The answer is yes…2017 is the revolution year we have been speaking about. And copper is the metal of the future.”

Europe has begun a dramatic shift away from the internal combustion engine, although, globally, there are only roughly 1 million electric cars out of a global fleet of closer to 1.1 billion. BHP forecasts that could rise to 140 million vehicles by 2035, a forecast it says is on ‘the greener’ end. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore’s Kings Are Spending Again – by Rebecca Keenan and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – August 29, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The biggest iron ore producers in Australia are spending as much as $10 billion on mines so they can keep pumping out shipments to China as demand in their biggest customer shows little sign of easing.

Led by Rio Tinto Group, the nation’s top three exporters plan to add about 170 million metric tons of new capacity to replace exhausted mines and are studying investments in infrastructure and equipment to boost export capacity to their long-term targeted rates. Output will rise 9 percent to 843 million tons in 2022, according to Deutsche Bank AG estimates.

Forecasts of a slowdown in China’s steel industry are proving to be misplaced with BHP Billiton Ltd. saying production hasn’t yet peaked and likely won’t do so until the middle of next decade, while steel-making raw materials will continue performing well over the coming 12 months. Iron ore prices are trading near a four-month high. Continue Reading →

BHP Billiton still plans to ‘ultimately’ sell its nickel division – by Marcus Leroux (The Australian – August 29, 2017)

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

BHP Billiton intends to sell its nickel division despite its decision to invest $US43 million in boosting its capacity to meet demand created by the boom in electric vehicles.

In revealing that in the long term it will probably sell Nickel West, which operates in Western Australia, BHP is signalling that it is content to rely on its copper business for giving exposure to the increased demand for the materials that make batteries for green technologies such as electric vehicles.

BHP appears to be taking a more sober view of the looming battery rush than many of its rivals. Nickel West was stranded as an orphan asset after it was not included in BHP’s spin-off of South32. However, the company subsequently committed to it by boosting its processing capacity to meet the anticipated demand from the take-up of electric vehicles. Continue Reading →

BHP explores $2 billion stake sale in Canada potash mine: sources – by John Tilak and Greg Roumeliotis (Reuters U.S. – August 25, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

TORONTO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd is considering selling a 25 percent interest in its Canadian potash mine project, a stake that could be worth close to $2 billion, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The move comes as activist investor Elliott Management Corp has been pushing the company for changes. BHP is working with an investment bank for the potential stake sale in its partly built Jansen, Saskatchewan potash project, the sources said this week.

For BHP, the move will help share the risk of developing the mine and reduce its exposure to the project, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Elliott’s BHP adventure pays dividends, but not total victory – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – August 22, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Aug 22 (Reuters) – It’s tempting to think that BHP Billiton has caved into demands by activist investor Elliott Advisors by agreeing to sell its U.S. onshore oil and gas business and by boosting the returns to shareholders.

After all, divesting the U.S. shale assets and lifting shareholder returns were two of Elliott’s three main points, made by the hedge fund in a letter to BHP directors in April. But it’s worth asking whether the decision to put the shale assets up for sale and increase dividends was motivated mainly by Elliott’s intervention, or whether they would have happened anyway.

As far as dividends are concerned, it was always likely that BHP would follow fellow miners like Rio Tinto in returning substantially more cash to investors, especially in the light of the huge boost to free cash flow from sharply higher prices for iron ore and coal. Continue Reading →

BHP’s US$14B Saskatchewan mine delay comes amid dark outlook for potash producers – by Jesse Snyder (Financial Post -August 23, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

BHP Billiton Ltd.’s decision to delay a major potash mine in Saskatchewan comes amid a persistent weakening of demand for fertilizer, leading producers to shelve major investments and ink sizeable mergers with competitors to boost revenues.

On Tuesday, Melbourne-based BHP announced it would delay its multi-billion dollar Jansen potash mine, located about 150 kilometres east of Saskatoon. Analysts estimate the project could cost as much as US$14 billion to complete.

The decision comes amid a shaky outlook for Canadian potash producers, who have been forced to scale back major mining developments in the face of low commodity prices. It will also delay BHP’s entrance into the potash sector, as the company faces intense pressure from activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. to shed some of its underperforming assets. Continue Reading →

Funds to Go for BHP’s Jugular If Miner Doesn’t Deliver Goods – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – August 20, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

BHP Billiton Ltd.’s truce with activist investors led by billionaire Paul Singer won’t last long if the world’s biggest mining company doesn’t pump up returns and deliver on strategic reform in the wake of its expected bumper profit report this week.

The naming in June of BHP’s youngest director Ken MacKenzie, 53, as chairman from next month has helped soothe disgruntled shareholders including Singer’s Elliott Management Corp., while continued demand growth in China for iron ore to coal is boosting prices, swelling earnings’ forecasts and raising expectations for higher payouts.

“They’ve got the most breathing space they’ve had in a long time,” Peter O’Connor, a Sydney-based analyst with Shaw and Partners Ltd., said by phone. “But if they mess up, the activists are going to be back on their jugular.” Continue Reading →

BHP commits $2.5bn to extend life of Spence copper mine in Chile – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – August 17, 2017)

http://www.mining.com/

Mining giant BHP (ASX:BHP) greenlighted Thursday a long-awaited $2.46 billion expansion of its Spence copper mine in Chile, which will add another 50 years to the operation’s productive life.

The decision comes at a time when copper prices have reached their highest levels since late 2014 and will boost BHP’s annual copper production by around 185,000 tonnes of copper over the first decade of the expanded operation, with first production expected in 2021.

Spence’s expansion contemplates the construction of a concentrator plant and a desalination plant at Mejillones port, located about 60 km north of Antofagasta city, which will be built and operated by a third party. BHP has committed to a 20-year lease nominally worth $1.43 billion. Continue Reading →

As Good as It Gets: Iron Ore Risks a Reversal as China Cools – by Jasmine Ng (Bloomberg News – August 15, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Iron ore in the $70s a ton may be as good as it gets for some time. After rallying hard in June and July, the commodity may see its gains unravel over the second half as steel production in China eases back from a record pace just as global miners pump up volumes.

The robust demand that’s supported gains may fade as steelmakers start to dial back output, according to Capital Economics Ltd., which came out first among forecasters in the second quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Others expecting a drop include Citigroup Inc., Sucden Financial Ltd., Axiom Capital Management Inc. and hedge fund Academia Capital.

“There was some fundamental support for iron ore’s rally, namely strong growth in China’s steel output,” Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at Capital Economics, said by email. “Stocks at China’s ports are now stubbornly high and if, as seems likely, steel production and demand eases back later in the year, then we see iron ore prices coming under renewed pressure.” Continue Reading →

Activist Shareholder Elliott Raises Stake in World’s Biggest Miner – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – August 16, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

BHP Billiton Ltd. appears to be heeding investors’ calls for change, activist shareholder Elliott Management Corp. said, disclosing it has boosted its holding in the world’s biggest mining company.

Paul Singer’s Elliott raised its stake in BHP’s London-traded shares to 5 percent, the fund said Wednesday in a statement, from a 4.1 percent interest in April. The fund has an economic interest in 0.5 percent in BHP’s Sydney-listed shares, according to its website.

Under U.K. law, investors holding 5 percent or more have power to call a company meeting. BHP declined to comment on Elliott’s change in holdings. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Mitsui, Cobra in talks with BHP over desalination plant – sources – by Gram Slattery (Reuters U.S. – August 10, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – A consortium made up of Mitsui & Co and Grupo Cobra is in exclusive talks with BHP Billiton Plc to build an $800 million desalination plant at its Spence copper mine in Chile, two sources with knowledge of the process told Reuters this week.

This means BHP, the world’s biggest mining house, is advancing the contracting process for a planned $2.5 billion expansion at Spence, a project that has been on ice for years.

A number of other companies bid on constructing the plant, including a consortium of Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management and Spain’s Acciona, but BHP has selected the Mitsui group to go ahead with bilateral negotiations, said the sources, who requested anonymity because the matter is private. Continue Reading →

BHP turns to electric car batteries to recharge its nickel business – by James Regan (Reuters U.S. – August 9, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The rise of electric vehicles is driving the world’s biggest mining house, BHP, to switch gears and invest heavily in its long-suffering nickel business.

Eduard Haegel, division chief of BHP Nickel West, said the company planned to spend more than $43 million building a nickel processing plant near Perth, Australia as part of a broader plan to reposition the business around batteries.

Haegel told the “Diggers and Dealers” conference in Australia he expected demand for batteries used to power electric cars to account for about 90 percent of Nickel West’s output within five or six years, replacing traditional markets, such as stainless steel makers. Continue Reading →

BHP presses for cheaper power ahead of Olympic Dam mine expansion (Reuters U.S. – August 4, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – BHP Billiton is looking for ways to shore up power supply and bring down power costs at its Olympic Dam copper mine in Australia, as it plans to expand following a string of electrical outages, the mine’s head said on Friday.

The mine has been badly hit by an energy crisis in Australia stoked by the rapid rise of wind power and closure of coal-fired power plants. This has destabilized the national grid and soaring natural gas prices have driven up power tariffs.

A blackout last year forced Olympic Dam to shut for two weeks, costing the company $105 million. Over the past year, rising power bills have added around $30 million to its costs.  Olympic Dam President Jacqui McGill said security of supply, price and system reliability are all challenges for the mine. Continue Reading →

BHP’s Canadian potash plan not a done deal – by Matt Chambers (The Australian – July 31, 2017)

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

It is unlikely that BHP’s latest $US4.7 billion ($5.8bn) plan for its Jansen potash project in Canada — which chief executive Andrew Mackenzie is aiming to have in ­directors’ hands for approval within a year — will go ahead with­out ­substantial improvements to ­design or the ­market outlook.

Mackenzie put the big Canadian potash project back on the drawing board as BHP’s major medium-term mining growth option, alongside a Spence copper mine expansion in Chile, just two months ago, after previously flagging a slowdown and even mothballing of the project. So it is expected to be a focal point of briefings after BHP delivers an expected full-year profit of $US7.2bn later this month.

At Spence, a $US2bn underground mine approval is looking very likely in the next few weeks, as copper sentiment is running hot and BHP has cut a previous cost estimate by a third, boosting the expected rate of return to around 15 per cent. Continue Reading →