BHP Billiton’s US$3
billion-plus Ravensthorpe
nickel project in Western
Melbourne, Australia — 16 July 2012 – Australian-based Mining giant BHP Billiton – the world’s largest diversified miner – is considering a withdrawal from aluminum and nickel operations as part of a general retreat from non-profitable side projects by key mining players. quotes “The Financial Times” as reporting that unnamed sources say BHP is one of a number of major mining companies pushing for a “retreat to the core,” seeking to divest itself of non-essential operations.

This development comes only months after BHP consolidated its aluminum and nickel assets into a single Perth-based division, which aluminum, nickel and corporate development CEO Alberto Claderon said was significant of the company’s long-term confidence in these areas.

Given the current state of the market, industry observers wonder if this is a propitious time for the big mining companies to be divesting themselves of non-core assets, with one source observing that “it is difficult to get good prices now.”

Aluminum and nickel aren’t the only business divisions that are getting a hard look, with BHP Billion  having confirmed that it was shedding a number of divisions. Last week it announced it was looking at losing its aluminum and nickel assets, and in April the company said it was reviewing its diamond business with an eye to a sell off.

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