BHP stands down quarter of workers at West Musgrave nickel and copper project

Georgina McKay
The Nightly
1 Min Read
BHP CEO Mike Henry
BHP CEO Mike Henry Credit: Aaron Francis/TheWest

BHP, the world’s largest miner, has reportedly stood down around a quarter of the workers constructing its West Musgrave nickel and copper project in WA.

The workforce at the $1.7 billion project has been cut from about 400 to 300 people, the Australian Financial Review reported. A company spokesman said the exit of some workers didn’t mean the entire project — acquired from OZ Minerals last year — has been cancelled, the AFR said.

In February, BHP took a $2.5b impairment on the value of its Australian nickel assets after a surge in supply of the battery metal dragged down prices. The miner also said it would shutter its Kambalda concentrator, which processes ore, and could mothball its other Australian nickel assets after a review.

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The price of nickel — a metal traditionally used to strengthen steel that’s become key to the energy transition due to its use in electrification and batteries — has dropped 40 per cent since the start of 2023 on the London Metal Exchange.

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