Buyer for Yabulu looks remote with sector in ‘huge’ global crisis – by Tony Raggatt (Townsville Bulletin – March 1, 2016)

Nickel is fickle

ANY chance of a potential suitor buying Clive Palmer’s Yabulu refinery looks remote with the nickel sector in the midst of a huge global crisis and massive losses.

The nickel division of the French Eramet group this month recorded losses of $400 million in 2015 and the French Government has undertaken to support New Caledonia’s nickel plants in Noumea and Koniambo.

Last week West Australian nickel miner and processor Western Areas reported a first-half $20 million loss and the giant Anglo American is understood to be looking to sell its $1 billion nickel ­division.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive ­Michael Roche said people need to stand back and consider a wider picture.

“A lot of people have tended to point the finger at (Townsville’s) Queensland Nickel because of the ownership there,” Mr Roche said yesterday. “I think people need to step back and understand this is not unique to Queensland this is not unique to Queensland Nickel.”

Queensland Nickel, the operating company of the Yabulu refinery, was placed in administration on January 18 with debts of more than $100 million.

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