BHP ramps up cost-cutting as axe hangs over thousands of nickel jobs – by Brad Thompson (Australian Financial Review – February 11, 2024)

BHP has told suppliers and workers at its West Australian nickel operations that it needs to cut costs for the business to have any chance of surviving the nickel rout that has claimed mines run by IGO and Andrew Forrest’s Wyloo.

Chief executive Mike Henry and the BHP board face tough calls on Nickel West amid estimates the business is losing up to $50 million a month at current nickel prices. Nickel miners, including Nickel West boss Jessica Farrell, met WA Premier Roger Cook on Friday as part of work by his government to refresh its critical minerals strategy in light of the downturn in nickel, lithium and other green metals.

The discussion covered some of the same ground as the crisis meeting for the nickel and lithium sectors hosted by Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King and the WA government in Perth on January 24.

BHP declined to comment after Friday’s meeting. Ms Farrell declared the previous gatherings a “wake-up call” for Australia and its ambitions for commanding a bigger grip on critical mineral supply chains.

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