Glencore swoops on Sirius’ nickel – by Peter Ker (Sydney Morning Herald – August 18, 2015)

Glencore’s financial troubles have not prevented the Swiss giant from swooping on the remaining offtake from Sirius Resources’ Nova mine in WA. In a deal that completes the offtake process for Sirius for the time being, Glencore will buy half of the nickel and copper concentrate produced at Nova for the first three years of the mine.

The agreement comes after BHP Billiton agreed in March to buy half of the first three years’ concentrate from Nova, and Trafigura agreed to buy copper concentrate from the mine.

Both BHP and Glencore have nickel operations within a few hundred kilometres of the Nova mine but while the concentrate bound for BHP will go into its Nickel West smelter at Kalgoorlie, Sirius said the concentrate bought by Glencore would be shipped overseas out of either Esperance or Geraldton ports.

Nova is not expected to come into production until late 2016, and the fact that 100 per cent of production for the first three years has already been sold amid a weak nickel market is a tribute to the expected high quality of the Sirius concentrate.

The mine is expected to reach full capacity, at 1.5 million tonnes ayear, by the December quarter of 2017.

Sirius managing director Mark Bennett said he was pleased to have completed the offtake process.
Sirius is the subject of a takeover bid from Independence Group, and Glencore’s offtake deal with Sirius will do nothing to quell rumours of a rival bid emerging.

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