Entire Aussie industry on the brink amid China move – by Jamie Seidel (News.com.au – February 29, 2024)


The commodity is meant to be the answer to the green revolution but it’s on the brink of collapse and Australia is in the firing line. Analysts believe up to half of the world’s nickel mines are unprofitable at current prices. And those prices are unlikely to change anytime soon. That has profound implications for Australia’s multinational miner, BHP.

While nickel is only a minor component of its overall portfolio, the “Big Australian” had high hopes for the critical mineral’s future. It’s a key ingredient in advanced batteries and high-efficiency electric motors. And both are crucial in the race to limit the impact of CO2-induced climate change.

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From Green Hype to Bailouts, the Nickel Industry Has Imploded – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – February 3, 2024)


(Bloomberg) — Just 18 months ago, the world’s biggest mining company was in a nickel frenzy. BHP Group, to much fanfare, had struck a deal with Tesla Inc. to supply it with the crucial ingredient for electric vehicles. It was about to go toe-to-toe with Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest for control of one of the globe’s most prospective mines.

For BHP, nickel offered a bright spot. Its management had earmarked the material as a key pillar of growth, a future-facing commodity that would help offset its exit from fossil fuels and let it tap into new demand driven by the world’s race to decarbonize.

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Mining giants told to pay $9.7bn over Brazil dam disaster – by Peter Hoskins (BBC.com – January 26, 2024)


A federal judge in Brazil has ordered mining giants BHP, Vale and their Samarco iron ore joint venture to pay 47.6bn reais ($9.67bn) in damages over a deadly dam burst in 2015.

The collapse of the Fundão dam in the south-east of the country caused a giant mudslide that killed 19 people. It also severely polluted the Rio Doce river, compromising the waterway to its outlet in the Atlantic Ocean. It was not immediately clear how much each company is required to pay.

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BHP’s warning on battery minerals is striking – by James Thomson (Australian Financial Review – January 2024)


Demand from the energy transition was supposed to underpin strong prices for nickel and lithium. But the battery minerals slump appears to be entering a new phase.

The most interesting word in BHP’s December quarter operations update can be found on page 14 – “structural”. That’s how the mining giant describes the changes ripping through the nickel sector, and threatening the viability of its Nickel West project in Western Australia.

“The nickel industry is undergoing a number of structural changes and is at a cyclical low in realised pricing,” BHP said. “Nickel West is not immune to these challenges. Operations are being actively optimised, and options are being evaluated to mitigate the impacts of the sharp fall in nickel prices.” BHP also said it would consider whether it needed to take a writedown on the value of the Nickel West asset.

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BHP issues dire warning on nickel mines – by Brad Thompson and Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – December 15, 2023)


The overhaul of the Albanese government’s critical minerals strategy offers no relief to the besieged nickel industry, which faces further job losses at BHP-owned mines.

BHP said its Nickel West business was not immune to the challenges suffocating the sector where some mines have shut down, and fellow producer Panoramic Resources was tipped into administration this week. Nickel West asset president Jessica Farrell said uncertainty had swept through the Australian nickel industry.

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BHP looks to take potash plant nuclear – by Matthew Cranston (Australian Financial Review – November 26, 2023)


Washington | BHP is considering nuclear energy to power what will be the world’s biggest potash mine in Saskatchewan, Canada, in a move that would help the Australian mining giant achieve its net-zero emissions target by 2050.

A decision to pursue nuclear generation in a country where it has long been part of the energy mix raises further questions about Australia’s own interest in the clean but controversial energy alternative.

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Massive potash mine being built in Saskatchewan breaks new ground for women – by Amanda Stephenson (Canadian Press/Toronto Star – November 19, 2023)


BHP’s Sask. mine breaking new ground for women

In July of this year, mining giant BHP announced a company first. More than 14,000 kilometres away from its Melbourne, Australia headquarters, BHP said it had achieved its “gender balance” target for its local workforce in Saskatchewan.

With women making up more than 43 per cent of the company’s workforce at its Jansen potash mine project as well as its Saskatoon corporate office, the province became the first BHP location in the world to reach a goal set back in 2016.

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Sask. town located near massive mining project readies for ‘influx of people’ – by Keenan Sorokan (CTV News Saskatoon – November 1, 2023)


BHP’s nearly $19 billion potash mine near Jansen is getting resounding approval from Lanigan mayor Tony Mycock. Lanigan, which is about a 15-minute drive from the mine site, is expected to benefit from the economic boon for the province and the local area after BHP announced plans for a $6.4 billion stage two expansion at the site Tuesday.

“It was pretty exciting,” he said. “They’ve been talking about it for a while and I didn’t expect it to happen this quick. “It’s very exciting for our community, the surrounding area and I mean, the province as a whole. This is a huge investment in Saskatchewan.”

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‘All those mouths need to be fed:’ BHP CEO aims to dominate potash globally through Canada – by Naimul Karim (Financial Post – October 21, 2023)


Mike Henry discusses the rationale behind BHP’s potash investment and how it intends to compete with the world’s largest potash producer

The world’s biggest miner BHP Group Ltd. is aiming to enter Canada’s potash industry in a big way when it starts producing the commodity in 2026 in Saskatchewan. The Jansen potash project is one of its biggest capital investments and while prices of the commodity have taken a hit in recent times, the miner is confident the expenditure will be worth it in the long run.

BHP’s chief executive Mike Henry was born in Canada and studied at the University of British Columbia. He left for Australia in 1999 to work for the Melbourne-based company and gradually rose up the ranks to become head of it in 2020.

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BHP chief calls Canada ‘really attractive’ market as he hopes to invest beyond potash – by Naimul Karim(Financial Post – October 18, 2023)


Mike Henry says political stability, abundant stores of critical minerals and talent make country a good place to invest

BHP Group Ltd. chief executive Mike Henry doesn’t shy away from trying new things. Just last week, he decided to take a leap of faith and went parachute jumping for the first time while visiting Montreal. “It was incredible,” he said.

Perhaps not so incredible, though, that the head of the world’s biggest miner will be making a hobby of it. Henry, a native of Vancouver, said he will be sticking with more relaxing pastimes to give his mind a rest from running a company with operations in more than 90 locations.

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BHP sells Blackwater and Daunia coal mines to Australian mining company Whitehaven – by Jessica Clifford (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – October 18, 2023)


Mining giant BHP has sold two of its central Queensland coal mines for more than $US4 billion. Australian company Whitehaven Coal has purchased the Blackwater and Daunia mines which produce some of the world’s highest quality coking coal for steelmaking.

The Blackwater site, located south-east of Emerald, is also one of the southern hemisphere’s longest coking coal mines, with a striking rate of 80 kilometres. Daunia is located south-east of Moranbah in the Bowen Basin and has only been operational since 2013.

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BHP CEO says ‘ship has sailed’ on potential acquisition of Canada’s Nutrien – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – October 18, 2023)


BHP Group Ltd. CEO Mike Henry is talking down the chances of acquiring Canadian fertilizer giant Nutrien Ltd., as the world’s biggest mining company concentrates on building its own potash business instead. In 2010, the giant Australian miner attempted to buy Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Nutrien’s predecessor company, but the deal was blocked by the federal Conservative government as not being of net benefit to Canadians.

BHP held talks with Nutrien in 2021 around a possible joint venture on its Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan. However, discussions between the two companies eventually fizzled. BHP elected instead to go it alone on the $7.5-billion project, the most expensive the company has ever undertaken.

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BHP braces for Indonesian supply surge as nickel hits two-year low – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – October 5, 2023)


BHP says electric vehicle manufacturers are not yet willing to pay a “green premium” to recognise the sustainability credentials of nickel mined in Australia, at a time when surprisingly large volumes of Indonesian nickel have dragged down prices for the metal to a two-year low.

BHP’s chief development officer Johan van Jaarsveld said the company would maintain a policy of only investing in the sort of “sulphide” nickel geology that occurs in Australia and Canada, but was bracing for more nickel supply growth from Indonesian miners working in “laterite” geology.

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BHP calls for global collaboration on critical minerals – by Esmarie Iannucci (Mining Weekly – October 2, 2023)


PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Mining giant BHP has noted that global collaboration and a significant quantum of capital will be required in order to source the critical minerals needed to drive decarbonisation.

Speaking at the IEA Critical Minerals and Clean Energy Summit, BHP CEO Mike Henry said there was global recognition of the worked needed to significantly scale up the supply of certain metals, but that the hunt for these metals was encountering some significant challenges.

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BHP speeds up Jansen project in Saskatchewan despite falling potash prices – by Colin McClelland (Mining.com – August 31, 2023)


BHP, the world’s largest miner by market valuation, is increasing its capital spending this year on the Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan by 55% even as potash prices dropped by more than a third this year.

Construction outlays at the site 180 km north of Regina are planned to rise to $1 billion from $647 million as crews work to start the mine in late 2026 instead of in 2027 as earlier planned, the company’s Calgary-based potash unit said. Jansen’s $5.7 billion stage one is 26% complete and would produce 4.4 million tonnes a year when finished, it said.

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