May 17, 2020

BHP Billiton Ditches Nickel West Sale

BHP Billiton
BHP Billiton
2 min
Nickel West is a fully integrated mine to market business located in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Image copyright BHP Billiton.
BHP Billiton will have an additional pillar for the time being. The mining giant had been attempting to offload its Nickel West mining operation in West...

BHP Billiton will have an additional pillar for the time being.

The mining giant had been attempting to offload its Nickel West mining operation in Western Australia but has not been able to find a buyer at the right price. This year BHP announced its goal to focus solely on its four pillars—coal, copper, iron ore and petroleum—to maximise its profits. These four commodities accounted for nearly all of its profits in the last financial year. However, by not being able to sell Nickel West, disposing of its other noncore assets like aluminium and manganese will become more difficult.

“This review is now complete and the preferred option, the sale of the business, has not been achieved on an acceptable basis,” BHP said in an emailed statement. “At this time, Nickel West will remain in the BHP Billiton portfolio as a noncore asset and the company will continue to operate the business to realize its full value.”

“In terms of BHP cleaning up its structure, it’s a net negative they haven’t been able to execute a sale given a backdrop of a fairly buoyant nickel price,” said Tim Schroeders, a fund manager at Pengana Capital. “It raises some concerns over how far apart the buyer and seller were. The market isn’t going to become any easier as time ticks by.”

Experts do not believe that BHP will be able to add the nickel business back into the mix at this stage of the demerger. Nickel used to be one of the mining company’s worst-performing commodities, but a recent ban on mineral-ore exports from Indonesia drove prices up by nearly 40 percent the first half of this year.

BHP Billiton continues to unload billions of dollars of mining assets, a trend the company has stuck to over the past couple of years. A $US430 million sale of its Yeelirrie uranium deposit in the same region to CamecoCorp and a $US553 million sale of its diamond business to Dominion Diamond Corp. were the highlights of this move.

Information sourced from The Wall Street Journal.

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May 13, 2021

BHP, Rio Tinto & Vale launch Charge On Innovation Challenge

Rio Tinto
Charge On Innovation Challenge
3 min
BHP, Rio Tinto & Vale launch 'Charge On' Innovation Challenge - a competition for tech innovators to reduce truck emissions via electrification

Mining giants BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto have launched the 'Charge On' Innovation Challenge to solve one of the biggest challenges the industry faces today - decarbonising mining operations.

'Charge On' Innovation Challenge

In partnership with Austmine, Australia's leading mining equipment, technology and services industry association, founding patrons BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto have launched the competition to encourage technology innovators to develop new concepts for large-scale haul truck electrification systems. The main goal is cutting emissions from surface mining operations.

“The mining industry needs to be at the forefront of tackling the climate challenge. The Charge On Innovation Challenge is a great example of the current collaborative work being done by the mining industry and mobile equipment manufacturers to decarbonise mining fleets,” the trio said in a media statement.

“In addition to providing a zero-carbon energy source, the conversion of mobile mining equipment to battery-electric can potentially unlock value, as electric motors have fewer moving parts when compared to standard equipment.”

A number of non-traditional mining sector vendors are actively developing technologies that can assist in mine electrification. By submitting a Challenge to the market, the Patrons of Charge On expect to:

  • Demonstrate there is an emerging market for charging solutions in mining
  • Accelerate commercialization of solutions
  • Indicate to suppliers, the mining industry seeks interoperable solutions
  • Maintain multiple actors and competition in the supply chain
  • Integrate innovations from other sectors into the mining sector

"We expect some solutions identified in the Challenge could provide propulsion to existing diesel-electric trucks. This may present a pathway to early implementation for dynamic charging solutions," the trio said.

Charge On

Paris Agreement

Found patrons BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto are pledging their commitment to fighting climate change:

"The mining industry has an important role to reduce emissions and do our part to achieve the Paris Agreement goals to limit the impacts of climate change."

The Charge On Innovation Challenge asks vendors to present interoperable solutions that can safely deliver electricity to large battery-electric off-road haul trucks in a way that maintains or improves current productivity levels. Specifically, mechanisms capable of delivering in the order of 400kWh of electricity to each truck within a haul cycle (ie load, travel, dump, return, queue). The delivered electricity is to charge a battery, and if applicable directly propel the truck.

Austmine CEO Christine Gibbs Stewart commented: “We expect the Challenge will attract companies from a broad range of sectors including mining, automotive, aerospace, agriculture, and defence to deliver selected charging concepts to create a standard product that can interface with all trucks."

More information about the challenge will be released on May 18.


The competition echoes growing efforts being made across the industry to tackle emmissions and promote electrification. In march this year, the Electric Mine Consortium was launched. It's founding members include Gold Fields, Dassualt Systemes and Sandvik who pledged their commitment to decarbonising mining operations.

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